Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father's Day

What word or words do you think of when you think of your dad?

I have two – stressed and laughing, seemingly contradictory – but true.

He was stressed, but he loved jokes – telling them and hearing them. He could hear the same joke over and over again and laugh like it was brand new.

The stress came from being a blue-collar worker with 4 kids in the 60’s & 70’s, a one income family. He worked for the Star and Tribune in the printing room for 40+ years. He would get up early, walk down our south Minneapolis neighborhood street and get on the city bus to ride downtown to the paper. After 8 hours he would get back on the bus and ride home to our pretty small house when I think about it. We would walk to our church every Sunday. He sang in the choir and did physical work around the church, but never was quite “good enough” to be an elder. Those positions were reserved for the white-collar men in the congregation, something I didn’t realize until later in life. He was a humble man.

He was not the planning type guy. He lived day in and day out doing what he needed to do to provide for his family. With not a lot of extra money – there wasn’t a lot of dreaming or planning. The one big decision my parents made was to buy an old cabin on Roy Lake – part of the Gull Lake Chain in the Brainerd Lakes Area. It was 1970 so I think the cost was like $23,000.

One of my biggest regrets about my dad is how we (my sisters and I and our husbands) pushed aside his dream of building a house at that lake property. His sons-in-law were all educated white-collar workers (business owner, doctor, pastor) and I wonder if he felt “less than” – not that any of them would make him feel that – they all showed great respect for him – always vying for Jim’s approval – jockeying to be the #1 son-in-law, a decades long gig that became the family joke.

When my mom got ALS, before he sank into Alzheimer’s, we had a few different family meetings trying to figure out what to do and how to best take care of her. One of the last if not the last time we got together – my dad had come with a plan. He came with plans for a model home from some builders in Brainerd, the costs, the floor plan, all the things necessary to move forward to build a home on their property ‘up north”. He would have loved it. He would have been so content living up there taking care of the property, putzing around. The way I remember that meeting – he came kind of sheepish, not really confident to say to his daughters and successful sons-in-law: “This is what I want to do”. Well, we pushed aside his house plans so fast it was like he never brought them out. “Who would take care of mom?” “We can’t just quick get to you if you need help”, we asked question after question and I watched him sink further and further back in his chair, getting more and more quiet as the questions came and he didn’t have any answers. Granted it wasn’t practical, but are most dreams?

I hate that memory. I‘ve got tears rolling down my face now as I type this.

I can’t wait to get to Heaven to see him and tell him how sorry I am. Knowing that God is a good God – I am sure my dad’s house is on a lake where he can work on things all the time (although I guess things in Heaven aren’t broken).

There’s something about a dad. The influence a dad has over his child is powerful. A dad has the power with his words and touch to send off his kid on a path of knowing:

who they are

whose they are

what they are made of

That power can also derail a child as they grow up searching for who they are – whose they are – and what they are made of. My dad was not the speak into my life kinda dad. And that has affected me.

When I think of the Trinity…

The Holy Spirit seems like a mystery, there have been times in my life when I have been dependent on Him to get through each day. He has been my guide, my conscious, my way out of dark times.

When I think of Jesus – I get a little giddy, kind of shy, like a lovesick teenager. He affects me in a different way – my heart beats fast and fluttery, I CANNOT WAIT to see Him to touch Him, to be face to Face with Him! I depend on Him to be my Warrior, my Rescuer.

But when I think of the Father… the tears come quickly. I want to sink in His arms, I want to be held by Him, I want Him to take care of me. I want to feel His love, I want Him to tell me who I am, what I am made for… and that I am His.

It’s not unconnected that our earthly fathers have so much power over us – our Creator Father set it up that way. Dads are to be earthly reflections of His love. Dads are supposed to be the ones to call out the good things they see in their kids. Dads are supposed to be tough and tender at the same time, to teach their kids how to live in the world. A toughness to survive and a tenderness to love people.

These verses from Psalm 127: 3-5 say this: “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them”

I like that idea – kids being arrows shot out from their warrior/father’s hands.

Dad’s – you have that power to shoot your arrow/kids out into this world.

Are you aiming well? Are you aware of your surroundings? Is your arrow prepped?

On this Father’s Day – there is joy and sadness for all the love that was there or was not there.

Joy and sadness for the presence of a dad or the absence of a dad.

Men – you have the power to look at your kid or any kids; to look them in the eye and tell them you see them. The phrase “I see you” is used for incredible feats, an athlete, a musician, actor or person who has done something extraordinary or brave or different.

I See you

I see what you are doing

I see the work you are putting in

I see how you are using your God-given talent

I see who you are becoming

I See you


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