Thursday, May 28, 2015

Memories of fathers

Father’s Day is coming up and some of you have stories—yet unwritten—about your father.

Was he a praying man? A humorous guy? Tenacious? Lazy? An athlete? Gentle? Gruff? Charming? Tall? Short? Educated? A charmer? An intellectual?

What sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures come to mind when you think of your father?

What lessons did he teach you? Maybe you learned from his good example, or maybe you learned by watching him mess up.

Do you have blue eyes like your father? Do you have his curly hair? His artistic talents? Maybe your kids or grandkids inherited physical attributes, personality, or talents from your father. What are they?  

Looking back at incidents from long ago, what stands out? Whether you knew your father or not, whether he was a good father or not, he influenced who you are today.

Mick Silva writes that his dad “made us breakfast every Saturday and took us to the hobby store and the bike park and then helped build models we picked out and design the bike jumps on the front sidewalk. He took us fishing and when I showed no interest, he bribed me with candy bars.…

He loved to wrestle even though he never won, and it always seemed we’d only just barely overpowered him.…

“He taught me to believe in myself and to be myself even when I didn’t much want to. He’s always accepted just who I am and was always proud of me and prayerful for who I was becoming….”

Click here to read Mick Silva’s blog post about his father and his own goals and hopes as a father himself. 

Steve Moakler writes, “Good dads lovingly lead their children into things that are scary. As much as it must pain a father to watch his kid scream, shake, and tremble, he knows his kids need to walk through fear to get to the good stuff.” Continue reading Steve’s blog post, What We Can All Learn from Good Dads.

And then there’s dear Cecil Murphey. About ten years ago, I and three or four others sat at a lunch table with him at a writer’s conference and he briefly, quietly mentioned severe beatings he received from his father. In a recent blog post, Invading the Privacy of God, Cec writes of learning about and eventually having a good relationship with a loving heavenly Father despite his own abusive human father: “My dad was an alcoholic.… With a few beers in him, he became harsh and short-tempered. I received a number of undeserved beatings, a lot of blaming for things I didn’t do, and a feeling that no matter what I did, it wouldn’t be good enough….

“Yes, I knew about an earthly father, and it wasn’t much to inspire me. Then I heard about a Heavenly Father who is different. He’s the Father who wraps loving arms around us, who listens to us, and most of all, who understands our pain.” Click on this link to read the entire touching, moving post, Invading the Privacy of God.

(Recently Cec started a valuable ministry for men who were sexually abused. Click on Shattering the Silence to learn more. Cec has written more than a hundred books on spiritual growth, Christian living, caregiving, writing, and heaven. He’s the co-author of the enormously popular 90 Minutes in Heaven, now being made into a movie.)

Stacy Sanchez writes of her father: “In my mind’s eye I can see him stillsitting out on the back porch, legs crossed, one leg resting atop one knee.  And of course, punctuating those long legs of his, cowboy boots.…

“While I vividly remember his mannerisms and gentle ways, it is the words he spoke to me that I remember most. I think this is because he was a man of few words. Even now I hear his words of instruction, guidance, humor and spunk.

“In winter: Don’t forget to pack a sleeping bag in the trunk of your car.

“In summer: If you get a flat tire, make sure when you pull over you aren’t parking on tall, dry grass. You wouldn’t want to start a fire. Oh … and watch for snakes.…”

Click here to read Stacy’s The Voice of My Father.

Claire McCarthy writes this about her father: “When my sister and I were little, we had an almost daily ritual with my father: drawing stories.

“He would sit us on his lap and get out his clipboard, a piece of paper and his black click pen. He’d divide the paper into four parts, and draw as he told a story. Sometimes he drew old favorites and we knew what would be in each of the four drawings. Sometimes he let us decide what he should say and draw. But most of the time, we had no idea what would come next.…

“Sometimes my father made fun of me with the stories, like the ones he drew when I was applying to college. I was reasonably freaked out about it, and the stories helped. Like the ones he drew when I was little, about the brave little girl who conquered whatever came along (insert fear of the week: the dark, dogs, getting lost), the stories about the silly teenager with the permed hair helped put things in perspective—and helped me see that ultimately, how I see my fears, and the world is up to me.

“That lesson has meant everything.

“My father died suddenly in 2005. I didn’t get to say goodbye, and I didn’t get to tell him how much I loved him—or how grateful I am to him.

I so wish I could say: Daddy, thank you so much for the stories.”

What stories do you need to write about your father?

What will your kids and grandkids and great-grands
miss if you don’t write those stories?

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