I've written no less than ten Father's Day blog posts in the last two years, in my head, while in the shower or while lying awake in the middle of the night. I've yet to post one. Shame! You know it's a terrible shame especially if you know my dad. He deserves everyone one of those "cognitive" blog posts and more--maybe even one spell-checked and with pictures!
I've had writing one for this year on my calendar for a month now. And, especially in this instance, saying I've been too busy just sounds ridiculous. My dad is a busy man as well. And not just because he's a surgeon. You can be a "busy surgeon" and then justify whatever time you don't spend doing things with and for your family and other people. That's not the kind of busy surgeon that he is. Then, "What kind is he?" you ask. "Good question," I answer.
My dad, when not busy with being a surgeon and all of the board memberships and extra meetings that come along with it is the sort of dad who took my sisters and me to the park when he had an evening off. He planned and squeezed in family excursions and trips whenever time and money allowed. He let us put thirty five barrettes in his hair while he sat and "relaxed" after work. And then he let us take pictures. (Sorry I don't have one to post today!) He told us we were smart, talented, and beautiful. And he communicated that he believed those things by how he treated us, spoke to us, and bragged on us to whoever he could get to listen. I know I'd be embarrassed to know how many nurses and doctors have had to hear about my honor roll achievements throughout the years.
My childhood was far from perfect, and my dad has probably "grown up" as much as I have in these past (almost) twenty-nine years. And while that does mean that there are things we all wish could have been different, it also means that I had a front row seat to see God. "What in the world does that mean?" you ask. "Good questions this morning!" I answer.
You see, I've often wondered about God. What's His deal? What's He like? Does He even exist? Whose version of Him could possibly be accurate if He does exist? Would He even want His name and every pronoun referring to it capitalized? You get the idea. I wondered these things at age two, and I wondered them at age twelve. I continued to wonder them while everyone else wondered what I was going to major in. So, I attempted to answer both parties; I declared a major in Biblical Studies with an emphasis in Theology ("the study of God," to those of you falling asleep as you read that word. And, no judgement from me, I never had trouble falling asleep in college. I could always find a textbook to aid in that endeavor).
I loved my classes (graciously paid for by my dad, by the way--never in a "you're costing me tons of money, kid!" sort of way); and I learned a lot. It was the most fun I've ever had school-wise. And yes, I'm one of those who has fun "school-wise." However, when it comes down to it, when life seems inexplicable, when I think about what I'm going to teach my kids about God, life, etc., when I think about what I really know to be true and why, I don't think about Fretheim's "The Suffering of God," or Ladd's "New Testament Theology." I think about my dad--what his life has displayed is the greatest "theology" lesson I've ever been taught. I've seen real-life redemption, true repentance, transformation and renewal, forgiveness that seems impossible, a love for justice that's unmatched, joyful and selfless giving, humility not-often-seen in "busy surgeons," and unconditional love. His life exemplifies these things because of his relationship with Jesus Christ.
And while I could spend years writing an entire blog with daily entries detailing all the ways in which my dad's life has taught me those things, you'll just have to take my word for it today--and at least for the next five years or so. Maybe I could pull a little something together after that.
Happy Father's Day, Dad. Thank you for everything I've talked about above and all the other things I've had to omit. I love you so much, and I'm so thankful you're my dad. Jonathan, Spencer, and I are pretty thankful that you're Spencer's Papa too. Tell your patients to stay well so we can see you tonight.
Edited to show Evelyn, only one week old, already thankful to have such a special Papa.