Sunday, June 18, 2006
I've had the privilege of having not one, not two, but three fathers in my life.
The first, of course is my natural father. Unfortunately, he died while I was in my early 20s, so I've missed out on the joy of cultivating an adult relationship with him. Dad was a great New York Yankees fan. He loved baseball and softball and he loved his Yankees. I remember watching many baseball games on TV together, as well as trekking to New York City several times every summer to watch the Yankees play at Yankee Stadium.
Dad also loved life and he shared that love with everyone around him.Whenever Dad entered the room, everybody knew he was there. A friend of mine was visiting once and she laughingly said, "Everything was quiet until your dad got home. He walked in the door and the entire house went into an uproar!"
Most importantly, Dad loved people, especially those whom nobody else loved. I remember asking him once why he took so much trouble helping a particular unkempt fellow. His response: Somebody has to love him for Jesus' sake. WOW! You know what? Those weren't just words - they were the creed by which Dad lived. Dad truly loved everybody he knew and he prayed hard and worked hard to do his part to make their lives better.
The second father in my life is my father-in-law. Throughout the 27 years of my marriage to his son, my father-in-law has always been loving and supportive. Dave and I have always respected Dad's wisdom and we've sought his advice on many occasions. And on those occasions when we've just needed a listening ear, Dad has been there. Always able to distinguish when we need advice and when we need to vent, Dad knows when to speak and when to listen quietly. He's a lot quieter than my father was, but he commands just as much love and respect.
The third father in my life is my step-father, my mother's second husband. Paul has been a wonderful blessing to my mother and to my family. He and my mother were both relatively young when they were widowed. They were coping with widowhood, but it wasn't easy for either of them. When they renewed acquaintances they found new soulmates with whom to share their golden years. They've been married almost 21 years. Paul has never tried to replace my dad, but he's been a true father in his own way. He's also been a wonderful grandfather to my sons, who never knew my dad.
So, in memory of my first father and in appreciation for the loving fatherhood of my father-in-law and step-father, I say Happy Father's Day.