“But also look ahead: I’m sending Elijah the prophet to clear the way for the Big Day of God—the decisive Judgment Day! He will convince parents to look after their children and children to look up to their parents.
(Mal. 4:5,6, The Message)
I’ve looked up to my dad ever since I can remember. And not because he’s taller. I am. By a lot! No. I’ve always looked up to my dad because…
…he really fears nothing. He’s not afraid of anybody or anything. I’ve heard stories. You know, “street stories”.
…he offers such presence. When he’s around, he lights up the room. Everyone will receive a handshake and a smile. He’s respectful to everyone he meets.
…he has this charm to him that is surreal.
…he offers care and concern in deep ways that makes you feel alive and welcomed. My mom told me that when he was a pastor in Idaho, he’d come home with no shoes, no jacket or shirt because he had given them away to others who were out in the snow, cold and lacking warmth.
…he loves John 3:16. It’s his life verse. I’m sure he’s trying to live it out, just as much as I am (or Tebow is!).
I will say this only once and briefly in this post, because I’ve shared it enough times. We didn’t have the best relationship growing up. Like many (or most), there was fatherly absence and being let down. It happens. It will happen. I will be absent and let down my own kids. It happens. I’m asking for grace for this not to happen. But it’s inevitable.
There are, however, turnaround points, breakthroughs if you will, when relationships change. When people change. When there is a special grace granted that alter lifestyles and attitudes. This special grace has swept over me. Thought I was gonna say my dad? Well, you’re partly right. But, for now, for the purpose of this little conversation, you need to understand that the special grace was first for me. It some ways, it had to be this way because I was to be part of the reconciliation work with my father. As I grew older and became more aware/mature, I now had a responsibility to own my wounds/hurts, grieve them and ask for healing. I also had to share with my dad how I felt and what bothered me. It was not easy to do. It was a 10 year process. But it was done. And I’m thankful for going through this valley of the shadow of death.
Both my dad and I have experienced this special grace in significant ways. For me, I have chosen to forgive (not forget!). I have chosen NOT to hold my dad in contempt. I have chosen to forgive the right to punish him (and myself). I have chosen to love, accept and build a relationship with my dad.
He has made drastic changes! Lifestyle changes. Attitude changes. Spiritual changes. He has shown remorse and made efforts to make things right.
So there has been a turning of hearts….mine towards his and his towards mine (I don’t think his heart ever turned from me…it was just confused).
I have much more to say but you’ll have to wait for the book! For now, please enjoy pictures of my dad and I enjoying ourselves on his birthday weekend.
Happy Birthday, apa! Te amo mucho. And may God continue to turn our hearts towards one another!