Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Tribute to My Dad

Just when you think you are out of time, you are blessed with another day. We are still praying for that peaceful transition to eternal life as he has been having some pretty scary coughing and choking spells. He has spent the majority of the last few days sleeping and has still been regularly notifying us of noticeable changes in his breathing and overall feeling.

Tonight, I pulled out the Birthday Book and read a few entries. Many people contributed favorite memories or stories of how he has impacted their life and I compiled them for his birthday. As we have spent a fair bit of time reminiscing, I thought I'd share what I wrote with you... mostly because I don't have permission from anyone else to publicly share their words!

My Normal Dad

I guess you could say my dad is pretty normal. He did the “dad” stuff. He drove me to school and picked me up from practices. He cheered me on and offered advice about sports, some he knew nothing about and every once in a while, an actual word of wisdom.

He picked me up in his work truck from elementary school and took me for a “special time” at lunch. He wrestled with us and taught us to play basketball in our backyard. He fixed my car and snuck me gas money whenever he could. He made sacrifices to help me pay my way through school. He campaigned for me when I needed to raise money for basketball. He drank too much coffee and could still fall asleep anywhere! When we were younger, he used to recline his seat at a red light and say, “wake me up when it’s green.” He was a bottomless pit and consumed enough food for an army each day yet managed to gain less than 10lbs in almost 30 years. Not bad at all!

Every once in a while he would try to lose weight and the obvious move was to cut back on rice. As a true Filipino, this could only ever last a few days at most. He gave in anytime I needed $5. He taught me to drive standard. He was awkward talking about “girl” subjects but always attempted none-the-less. He tried to intimidate boys that liked me and would try to send Mike home at 9:00 on a Friday night because, didn’t I have to get up early for school tomorrow? He would always help me load my car in going to and from college. He never got sick, he rarely cried and getting stung by a bee or burned didn’t seem to bother him. He sometimes resembled a superhero.

My Different Dad

In other ways, my dad is pretty different. Some would even say the things he does are strange! Every dad is human and loses his patience every once in a while. But my dad, always prompted by the Holy Spirit, was and continues to be humble enough to confess to his daughters and ask for my forgiveness whenever necessary.

My dad wasn’t the kind of guy who was into having his own stuff. Instead, he was concerned with putting the needs of our family above his own and taking care of the needs of those around him. The only things I remember him buying himself that wasn’t purely out of necessity like Ivory Soap or Tim Horton’s was a frying pan right before last Christmas and the occasional new pair of khaki pants. Yet, I always had new basketball shoes, rent money and an vehicle to drive, often not the same one as the day before.

He wasn’t scary to my friends as some dads can be. But was very friendly, approachable and conversational, even if they couldn’t understand what he was saying or if he repeated the same questions each time he saw a particular friend! He always tried to take time to get to know them.

Every morning when I would come down for breakfast I would see my dad at the dining room table with his Bible open getting his bread for the day. And I do mean everyday. In the mix of conversation with me and normal questions like, what are you learning in school, he would ask probing questions like, “What is God doing in your life?” Once, I made the mistake of thoughtlessly replying with, "nothing." His response was a mini-lesson on how God is always at work around you, you just have to be aware of it!

My dad was obsessed with cleanliness. He did the dishes and bathed the kids- not traditional man jobs. He was also obsessed with hygiene. When I got to the age where I could shower myself, he would always ask me if I washed my body. If I said yes, he would smell my arms to make sure, and if they weren’t clean enough, back I had to go for round two. When we did the dishes he would inspect the clean ones to make sure they were clean enough.

He didn’t care for spoiling us with trivial things we wanted, though you could twist his arm occasionally! Instead he gave us everything we needed for life and godliness. As I look back on our relationship I can see the spiritual imprints that he has left along the way. Through the example of his life I have seen what the life of a righteous and godly man looks like and you truly cannot put a price tag on the privilege of being his daughter.

2 comments:

Kathy Anderson Seidler said...

Steph, what a blessing you are to put this blog together. I love your family, your mom, your dad and have felt so inadequate in reaching out to you guys. But, this isn't about me, but about what a beautiful man your dad is and what an impact he has made on kingdom work. "Well done, good and faithful servant". May you all continue to know God's loving presence through the days ahead. There are so many of us praying for all of you--please know that! Much love, Kathy Seidler

Craig said...

This is a beautiful website and a wonderful tribute to your dad. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us. I have only known your mom and dad for a short time and from a long distance, but I have grown to love them deeply. Your family remains in our prayers and we are praying for you around the clock. I lost my mother to Cancer 11 years ago and I remember the roller coaster of the last days with her and asking the "when" question. Cherrish these times with your dad and savor the memories. The Lord will continue to shine through your dad and through you guys.

Craig Kraft (Exec. Dir. Outreach Canada)