This is a poem I wrote years ago for my dad, either for his birthday, or for Father’s Day. Not wanting the frame to be broken in transit, I merely mailed home to my mom the typeset manuscript, plus some money for a frame. “What kind of frame do you want for it?” my mom asked. I replied, “A cheap one! That way, you and Daddy can take the money you save down to the ice cream shop!” Did you know that there is a very, very, good ice cream shop in my home town? We just love eating there.
One of my dad’s former students (“JP”), read this aloud at my dad’s funeral, and he did an exceptionally good job of it.
God gave to me a very special friend,
Exemplary in kindness and in grace,
Reliable with prayers or aid to send,
Amazing love and kindness in his face,
Long-suffering with people who are weak,
Delighting once again God’s word to share.
Appealing to their better sides, he speaks,
Neglecting nothing for their tender care,
Discovering God’s goodness everywhere
Enough to satisfy all daily needs,
Relaxed in knowing God is always there,
Supplying peace and joy to those He freed.
On Jesus precious Daddy will depend:
No matter what, our God he will commend.
for my completely irreplaceable dad,
who died on February, 4, 2014
Dance with Jesus, Daddy!
You will be greatly missed!
We were all invited to send our testimonies about my dad to the preacher (“Mr. L.”), who was going to read them aloud at the funeral. But, grief and the inevitable delays and mess of travel sidetracked me until I found I was terribly late preparing mine. An hour before the funeral, the church secretary kindly surrendered her computer to me, then printed and proofread my work before forwarding a copy to the preacher:
Grace, Mercy, and Truth
One year at Thanksgiving, before the food was ready, my dad and I went out to the backyard to “play baseball”. But honestly, we never really played baseball. Every single time we went out, my dad would always pitch (the not-so-fun part) and let me try to hit (which, of course, I loved). My Aunt Dorthy sat down on the porch to watch. After my dad threw me a particularly perfect pitch, we both watched as I packed a powerful punch that drove the softball straight to Aunt Dorthy’s face. Oh, I started praying immediately! Just in the nick of time, Aunt Dorthy ducked. (She made the same kind of motion you would expect to see if a huge-but-invisible angel had pushed her over to the side, sat on her for half a second, then hauled her upright again in one fluid motion. I have to say, I was impressed!) Miraculously, the ball did not break a window, nor the back door, which was also glass. Instead, it bounced harmlessly off the brick wall. A few seconds later, after we all started breathing again, there were a lot of things that my dad could have said. But, in keeping with his usual gracious nature, he restrained himself, gasping only, “Great reflexes, Dorthy!” Though we had narrowly avoided disaster, he kept pitching the ball to me. And he never mentioned it to me again. This is one of my favorite memories of my dad.
In the last couple of weeks, I have slipped deeply into a period of really heavy mourning for my dad. At the same time, I rejoice that he truly loved God, wanted to love and serve whatever neighbors happened across his daily path, and he was one of whom none could speak ill. He will be greatly missed.
Having said all that, I would still appreciate your prayers. Please pray specifically that I will be able to honor God through my pain.