It’s fathers day again and usually on fathers day I give you a card or maybe even a gift and I say the right words and do the right things and we have a good time. I’ve always meant the things I wrote in your cards but I don’t think I ever properly thanked you for all you have done to shape me into the person I am today.
I wonder sometimes where I would be if it weren’t for you. You have taught me so much. Everything from how to tie my shoes to how be a victorious christian. You always loved me even when I wasn’t very loveable. I remember once back when I was maybe 16, I don’t know why I was so angry or what I was going through at the time but I remember standing there and telling you everything you do wrong, how unfair you are, and how I thought you should change. And I remember how you just listened to me and you didn’t say anything. You didn’t defend yourself or tell me I had a bad attitude. You just listened. And when I was done fuming I went into my bedroom and cried, and I wrote in my journal “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I have the best Dad ever.”
When I was just a little girl I thought all girls had daddy’s who gave them piggy back rides and played with them in the sand box. I loved when you made egg sandwiches for supper and when you called me “pumpkin pie” it made my day. I thought every little girl had a daddy who read her bible stories and who could imagine that some little girls didn’t have a daddy who sang them to sleep when they were scared of the dark?
As a school girl I didn’t realize that there were girls who didn’t have a dad who noticed their new dresses or complimented them when they baked cookies (even if some of them were a little burnt) and didn’t every girl proudly show her dad her report card and tell him about the new song she learned in school? I assumed that all girls got to go with dad on all-day delivery trips and didn’t realize how privileged I was to have a dad who would jump with me on the trampoline.
Even as a teenager I thought it was normal to have a dad who explained everything (from Calvinism to constellations to computers) with infinite patience. I didn’t know I had one of the few dads who are willing to admit when they’re wrong and apologize to their child. I didn’t know I was infinitely blessed in having a dad who always put his family before his business.
I’m still young but I’ve seen a lot the last few years. I’ve talked late into the night with girls as they cried, grieving for a father who was never there for them. I’ve watched as they struggled to find security in a world with no anchor. I heard the pain under the words as they said, “my dad doesn’t care what I do”. I’ve seen them struggle and wrestle with giants I will never have to face. They’ve said to me, “I wish I had a dad like yours….”
It seems a bit trite, just saying thank you. I hope you realize how deep my gratitude is. Thank you dad for showing me how to live. Thank you for being an example of what it means to be a Christian. You were willing to stand for what you believe even when others didn’t agree. You were willing to surrender when you realized it wasn’t a matter of principle. When you were falsely accused you showed us humility in action. You demonstrated Jesus for us. There are many people who criticize the way you raised your family. They say you gave your children to much freedom or not enough, but I want to say thank you. Thank you for explaining to us, for demonstrating for us, and then letting us choose. You were never scary, nor were you simply our buddy. You are our hero.
Thank you for the little things. For showing me how to divide math facts. For fixing my bike. For not mowing the pasture because we wanted to play in the tall grass. For taking me shopping and teaching me how to drive. You’re the one who helped me open my first Bank account and buy my first car. You taught me how to pump gas and how to get along with my sister. You encourage me to follow my dreams but always point me back to Jesus.
When I was in bible school I watched a young girl with her dad. I looked into her eyes and I said “be thankful for your dad, I know a lot of girls who would give much for a dad like yours”. She said, “I know, but so often I forget”.
So do I. but today I remember.
Thank you, dad.
I love you!
~ your daughter