Father’s Day/Amazing Love
Our song of the day yesterday at church was ‘Amazing Love.’ I thought it was just right for Father’s Day.
I was fortunate to have a good Father. He was also a country Doc. I used to go on house calls with him. He worked very hard, maybe too much at times, though they had little choice in the matter. Even though he had a tough go, I could tell what it meant. We’d go out to the Fairgrounds and some child would come up and hug his pant legs and tell him how much they loved him. I didn’t know exactly what he did, but I wanted to be a part of it.
I heard of a minister whose work was with death row inmates. He said he never met a man on death row who had a good relationship with his father. I never forget that, and vowed when my time came I’d do my best too.
The best thing a fellow can do to be a good father is pick out a good mother for his children. I was lucky on that one. When I married their mama I figured God would give us beautiful children and it worked out just like that. I have often said God knew what God was doing, ’cause if it was up to men to have babies, the human race woulda died out a long time ago. I am a Doc and I tried to be as supportive as I knew how, but like most men all I really know about the miracle of birthing babies is to read ‘Field and Stream’ magazine in the waiting room, smoke a fine cigar, and brag.
Marfar had her hands full. She was both the grace and the discipline. I was (and still am in many ways) nothing but an overgrown child who was fortunate enough to have a good grown up Doctor brain. In truth she raised three; our two and me, and did a fine job of it.
But I loved to work and play hard, and I included my kids in it all. They hung out at the office with me and made hospital rounds. We’d stop at a red light on the way to the hospital and their grade school word lists would flutter to the floorboard. They’d gather ’em up and we’d memorize a few more. I told them it was the only way our people knew how to survive so they better get good at it. They became good with words.
Somewhere early on I read children need rituals; a routine they can count on. There was a little country restaurant on the way to school, and I took them there for breakfast every Wednesday morning without fail. I was often on call Tuesday nights. At times I was so tired I thought my face was gonna plop right into my eggs, but we kept it up. I was a busy young Doc, and didn’t have as much time for them as I wanted. But at Wednesday breakfast I learned of all their hopes and dreams, and encouraged them to reach for them.
They both did well. My boy is a paramedic who loves to ride Harleys and work on cars. He has a fine mechanical mind and can fix anything. My daughter is an intellectual young lady who is in Public Health in the Tobacco Triangle. Her special interest is in health care for the under-served. The child has already been around the world and is working a plan to save it.
They both play a little music. I taught my son mandolin, guitar and banjo, and he learned the bass on his own so he could play in the church praise band. (His mom took it up later) My Marie was in the orchestra and learned violin, piano and bass (plus some bluegrass bass from her mom) and I gave her a mandolin and she knows some on that too.
My boy and I played a lot of golf together. Golf was our time and his sister and mom only played a little. When he was little he once asked when a man was ready to be married. Son, I said, “when you are mentally prepared to bust your a^^ all month, and give everything you have to make sure you take care of your people, and at then at the end of the month you have enough left over to walk nine holes of golf and buy a hamburger, and when it thrills you to have that opportunity, then you’re ready.”
He’s married now and doing well. He’s not a father yet, but I pray he’ll be a good one, and I am sure he will.
My daughter was my book kid. In the third grade she’d want to talk about issues like poverty and world hunger. She was a normal girl; quite feminine and as pretty as her mama, but boyfriend, clothes and makeup worries just weren’t on her radar. Still, I always saw her as my little girl. She only got mad at me one time. We were out in the yard pitching baseballs, and she stalked in.
I followed her in the house. “What’s the matter?” I asked.
“You won’t throw it at me as hard as you will to Tommy.” She held back big tears.
I bought her a basket of flowers the next day, but from then on I threw just as hard to her as I did the boys. She is now a black belt in karate, so I guess she showed me a thing or two about chauvinism, huh?
Our song of the day in church was “Amazing Love.” My definition of love is to care more about someone else than yourself. If the terrorists were to show up at the house and demand my wife and children they’d have to kill me first. They are younger and stronger than me, and they would prevail, but I’d hope to put up enough of a fight to where my people could escape.
Of course what would really happen is my boy would beat ’em with a ball bat and my daughter would kick the h@## out of ’em with karate. Then Ms. Marfar’d take ’em her best southern barbecued chicken down to the Harvey County jail and they’d wonder exactly why they signed up for this terrorist gig to start with.
Human love and forgiveness is an amazing thing. But the love of our Heavenly Father far exceeds even that. I love my children so much that as a human I could never give them up without a fight. I can’t understand God’s love; to give up His only Son. I guess part of Grace is to accept what we as mortals have no way to comprehend.
As an earthly father, I’ll take all the help I can get. One of these days I’m gonna have grandchildren. I hear that is God’s way to give you a second chance to do better than when you were young, dumb, and scared half to death. I’m gonna make the best of it when the time comes.
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