Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

This post is to wish my dad (seated in the back, singing along with my mom) a Happy Father's Day! Of course, he doesn't look like this now: now he has Parkinsons disease and arthritis; he uses a walker. And his hair is still wavy, but it's all grey. He still likes to sing, though. Even though it's Sunday, I don't believe my mom and dad are singing hymns in this picture. They often liked to sing the top forty from an old book of standards that my mom had. I remember songs like: Beautiful Brown Eyes (even though everyone in our family has blue eyes) and Jim, and Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? Also: You Always Hurt The One You Love.

I don't want to give you the impression that my dad didn't like to sing hymns too, though. He had his own copy of the (then) red hymnal, which often sat on the piano. Once (only once that I remember) my mom and dad decided to skip church. They were sitting in the living room in their bathrobes, reading the newspaper, and my sister and I were standing in the middle of the living room, singing the liturgy out of my dad's red hymnal. (She still goes to church, too.) (I don't want to give my brother short shrift. But I don't remember where he was during that particular home worship service.) We just couldn't have Sunday without a good Kyrie.

I remember looking through my dad's wallet one time. Along with baby pictures of us, he had a couple of old business cards, one with a little evangelism message on the back: CH_ _ CH. What's missing? UR. Not subtle, but he was doing his part as a businessman. His older brother had become a minister, and I think through that, my dad's faith deepened too. He also liked to read us Bible stories before we went to bed, often from Kenneth Taylor's The Bible in Picture for Little Eyes.

We don't make much ado about Father's day in church these days; there are so many children who don't have a dad, or at least don't have a dad who is active in church. There is also the problem of all of the father-language for God. And I get that: I am one of those who wants to expand our language for God, so that we more accurately reflect the truth of Genesis 1, that all of us were created in God's image.

Today after church I stopped in at the hospital. One of our older members had fallen and fractured a rib, and also punctured his lung. I happened to ride the elevator up with his daughter. He was doing much better today, but was very sleepy still from all the medication. We woke him up, and reminded him that today was Father's Day. We sang part of a stanza of "This is my Father's world." I could tell he was a good dad. I could tell by his daughter's devotion. I also know that he cared for his wife for many years as she had Alzheimer's disease.

So today I want to say to my own father: thank you for being a good dad. Thank you for sharing your faith with me. Thank you for sharing your questions, when you wondered what God was up to. Thanks for the Bible stories and the prayers, and for making us listen to mom. Thanks for bringing us to church every week, and worshiping with us too. Thanks for helping us to know God's love and forgiveness. You aren't perfect, but because of you I know that no one is perfect, but that God embraces all of us with love.

And oh yes, most of all, thanks for the music. "Have I told you lately that I love you? -- Well darlin', I'm tellin' you now."

Happy father's day!


Anonymous said...

Diane, What a lovely tribute and great pic! Thanks for your comments since I'm a newbie. Also, just wanted to say my husband LOVES The Brothers K!

Diane said...

It's a GREAT book. some people are daunted by its size. Our book group took two months to read it one summer ... well worth it. hope to read more from you soon.

mompriest said...

From one whose mother divorced twice, and for whom my father(s) are more of an abstraction than a reality of influence, I appreciate your loving post about your father. I hope my children grow up with such fond and loving memories of their father (and, of course, my husband). I mean, in my own way, under odd circumstances, I love(d) both my fathers, it's just different...