Saturday, December 6, 2014

Remembering my Dad

It's probably because I attended the funeral of a neighbor yesterday that I have been thinking about my Dad. Well, that and seeing a picture of my Dad, our oldest son, and me in our first apartment, which my lovely wife had out in our kitchen this morning. Whenever I despair about the state of masculinity today, I look at a picture of my Dad for inspiration. What he taught about being a man is not that being a man entails being mean and ornery, but that it means to live for others and not yourself, especially for your wife and children, and when you commit to something, like marriage, you commit, you're in, it's irrevocable.



You see, my Dad basically grew up without a Dad (his Dad left my grandma for a younger woman). I remember my Dad giving the eulogy at his brother Harry's funeral. He said, choking back tears (my Dad never cried), "Harry taught me how to be a man." I am blessed to be able to say, "My Dad taught me how to be a man." I have no doubt that my Dad puzzled, for many years, about how his only son could be so unlike him. We were very different people. I cherish how close we grew after I married and had children.

The only "Scripture" I remember being recited at Harry's funeral was by my cousin, Danny, his son: "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil because I am the meanest son-of-a-bitch in the valley." If you knew Harry, like I knew Harry, this was no idle boast.

For the past few years, Johnny Cash singing this U2 song speaks, not just Advent, but particularly the Second Sunday, John the Baptist Sunday, to me:



I went out searching
Looking for one good man
A spirit who would not bend or break
Who would sit at his father's right hand
I went out walking
With a bible and a gun
The word of God lay heavy on my heart


This song, along with all Johnny Cash songs, makes me think of my Dad, too. Until the resurrection, nobody dies until you forget them. God remembers everyone, which is why we say, "May his memory be eternal."

Maran'atha

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