(Meditation Scriptures: Psalm 78, Joshua 24, Matt 10:34-36, Romans 8:14)

It doesn’t escape me that your dad probably wasn’t what you wanted. Maybe he wasn’t always there for you. Maybe he was dangerous. Maybe he is just missing.

Dads leave strange scars on their children. We can make odd memories when we’re not trying to make good ones.

My dad gets a special pass in my heart. He’s not perfect. I guess none of us is. But, I am a lot like him in some good and in some bad ways, and I suppose the same passes I give myself also apply to the old man.

My dad had his own world when I was a boy; his own place where he was master and commander. His store was nestled in a fascinating art deco castle, in the middle of the bustling city center. Veined white marble and cherry wood opened up heavenward to a sky view. I can still recall that strange, nameless scent with hints of polish, leather, and fountain spray.

Inside the store was my dad’s kingdom. It was his decoration and his craftsmanship. It was his initiative and hard work on display. He must have learned so much about record-keeping and management and sales. I never really had an appreciation for my dad’s work until much later, when the store was no longer there and he’d gone to work for someone else. Like all things, I did not miss it until it was long gone.

When I think back on those days as a boy when I would romp and play in those long, storied hallways of the big marble castle and smuggle quarters from the cash drawer and beg him to “melt something” under his torch, it makes me miss my daddy.

He is still with us. In fact, I spent Sunday afternoon with him and my mom and my grandpa. But when I think back on those old days at his store, I think of the younger man with his black beard and his grey suit and his patterned neckties. I think of the giant, who created beauty with his black hands, and who ruled his own world.

I miss my daddy. That’s what has happened as I’ve gotten a bit older and had children of my own. That is the way of things.

“He established a testimony in Jacob
and set up a law in Israel,
which He commanded our fathers
to teach to their children
so that a future generation —
children yet to be born — might know.
They were to rise and tell their children
so that they might put their confidence in God
and not forget God’s works,
but keep His commands.”

My father is not arrogant. He is not aggressive. He is kind and gentle. He is patient. He can be petulent when he is angry, but it never seems to last too long. He is sad and contemplative, but he smiles for me. He is tired, because he works hard hours. When he sings, he shows what’s on the inside. He knows about scripture and he teaches what he studies. He laid a foundation of faith in me that has been reset over time; a few blocks changed and new lines drawn and extended. But the root remains.

“Then they would not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not loyal
and whose spirit was not faithful to God.”

Stubborn. Rebellious. What is old is new again.

My daddy did not stamp out my rebellion. I suppose he could have. The fight would have been costly for both of us.

Instead, he watched me, patiently. And rather than make an enemy by inflating my pride, he fueled a spirit that would, ultimately, find its way home to a loving Father.