May 15th was my father’s birthday – his 104th, had he lived beyond the age of 64. Although he’s been gone for 39 years, I still miss him and think of him often. He was my earliest hero, the one who could fix anything, dive off a diving board, run with me in three-legged races at church picnics, and drive a golf ball with ease. Every time I pick up a tool and fix something around the house I think to myself, “Dad would be proud of me.”
Memories come in odd and strange ways. Last Friday evening I fixed rice for dinner and suddenly remembered the first time I ever ate rice. The occasion was a Father-Daughter Girl-Scout dinner in the basement of the Kenmare Presbyterian Church. I don’t remember anything about the meeting except that I was proud to have Dad there by my side, and with him by my side I bravely tried this new and exotic food. I discovered that I liked it, a good thing since it was a staple in Hawaii.
My dad was my biggest fan. He came to almost every field hockey game in high school and at Penn State. I had no idea what that cost him in terms of vacation days and travel until much later in life. In my sophomore year at Penn State, I made the regional team and had the opportunity to play at Nationals in Long Beach, CA. My dad worked overtime to clean up damage at work from Hurricane Agnes to cover my expenses, a gift did’t fully appreciate until I worked overtime years later at a psychiatric hospital in Oconomowoc, WI.
He was a quiet, humble man, who was not outwardly affectionate or emotionally expressive, but there was no question in my mind as a child, or to this day, that he loved me and my sisters unconditionally. His subtle smile was enough to light my day. Sounds a bit like God, doesn’t it?
Moses’ final blessing to the Israelites goes like this, “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Imagine God turning toward us with a smile, proud of us, just like my dad.
May God’s face shine on you this day ~ Anne