When my dad left the staff at my home church in Missouri, something really cool happened. There was a big party for him on his last Sunday. They had Nascar cupcakes and loud music. It was super awkward for him, because he is in no way a limelight type of guy. He’d rather sit in a canoe on the lake for hours all by himself. But what went down that Sunday will always be one of the coolest days of my life, I believe. An hour or so into the party, people started lining up, unplanned, to talk to my dad and the rest of the family. They began telling us stories about how awesome he was basically. Stories about how he was strong in a situation that needed strength, stories about how he said just the right thing when something needed to be said, stories about a funny situation, stories about a child he helped turned into an adult, stories about the music he played at church that brought them to a place they desperately needed to be. My dad is cool – and other people know it. I was in tears most of the morning as other people were. It was such a moment of clarification for me. As an adult you learn to appreciate things about your parents that you can’t when you’re younger. I learned so much about my dad. He is the man that other men should aspire to be. He’s kind, he’s giving, he’s gracious to no end, he is smart and talented, he is the dad that all other dads should be measured by. I mean that.
I know this makes you uncomfortable because you don’t believe most of this stuff. But that’s just one more thing about you that’s awesome. You have taught me humility in a way that I can’t learn from the rest of the world. I’ve said before that one reason I can trust in a God that is Abba and loving and just and strong is because I have a dad who is the human version of that. Thank you for being a leader to our family. Thank you for riding shopping carts through the parking lot and making cow noises when we drive past a farm. Thank you for not caring about “stuff” and teaching your kids that stuff is nothing compared to the love of a family. Thanks for teaching me how to spit sunflower seeds and showing me how to take off a rabbit’s pajamas. Thank you for listening to and giving your lunch to that kid in my 5th grade class that didn’t have a lunch during the field trip to the Renaissance Festival. Thank you for being a dad that we never once had to question. And never once had to make excuses for. You said something to me on my way out the door to a party in high school. “Remember whose you are.” I know that you didn’t mean you – you meant Christ. But remembering that I’m your daughter is pretty great too.
I love you so very much,