Saturday, March 16, 2013

a little about my dad

For one of my classes this week we have to write essays on heroism, one of which has to be a hero from your family. I chose to write about my dad... I may not have gotten all the dates right, and I am sure that remembering things through my child's eyes probably skewed some of the facts, but what a humbling experience to write out everything that this man has done for me over the course of my life, and everything that he did before then to ensure that I might be able to be here today, having the life I do... so, I thought I'd share a few excerpts from that essay today, as a way to say thank you to him, as well as to praise God for the gift He gave me in a great earthly father. Through the love and sacrifice of my dad, I am able to see the reflected beauty of my eternal father...

Some things about my dad:
He is a 55 year old small business owner... in his field, he is widely respected... He is a widow, and a father of 3, grandfather of 6, and the constant male role-model in several other lives. He is brilliantly simple in his view of the world, and believes in a healthy trust in the goodness of others...He graduated high school in 1976, was married in 1978, a father in 1979, 1983, and 1984...among the fond memories of his early years is a cute girl that lived a couple houses down. He spent many days after school, and through the summers, tormenting the girl, shooting birds out of the trees in her front yard. Bart graduated from high school in 1976, and while he was trying to plan the next phase of his life, he learned that his girl down the street was going to be moving to California... so, he followed her... and then, on her 18th birthday, they got married... The following few years, he continued to work hard and he became a father for the first time. Things were progressing well through his life... Then he was faced with a decision. His wife was pregnant with their second child, he had been offered a higher level job with a larger company, but his wife’s mother was ill in southwest Missouri. His father-in-law was not in the best of health either, and the cancer that was destroying his mother-in-law was too much for him to take care of... he declined the job offer, opting instead to head into the unknown and help care for the ailing in-laws. He became a father for the second time not long after getting settled in to this new life. His mother-in-law passed away...followed by his father-in-law...The added responsibilities of home, and the extreme hours at work... he found a new job...This was quickly followed by the birth of his third child, me... At the ripe, old age of 29 he bought the company he was working... With just some formal education beyond high school, using his natural gifts and intelligence, Bart was a 29 year old, married, father of 3, guardian of 1, small business owner, and in position to continue living his life...until he lost of his father, again... Even with the stress of owning and operating a business, working 80-100 hours most weeks, he never missed a beat as a father. He would get home in time for dinner nearly every night, even if it meant going into work at 2 or 3 in the morning. After dinner was always play time, throwing a ball around, shooting baskets, or playing board games, it didn't matter, as long as his family was together....He pushed himself this hard for years, always advancing and always putting his family above himself, serving through tireless sacrifice for our happiness... he had always hoped on an early retirement, by age 50 if possible. As he was approaching that goal, at the age of 49, life reared its unpredictable head once more. His wife, his darling from down the street, was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer, just like her mom, and so many women before her. Millions of dollars in medical bills led to thousands of dollars in out of pocket expenses over the next 4 years, as the cancer exhausted far more than their bank accounts...Dreams of a retirement spent traveling, and enjoying the rewards of a hard fought life, went up in smoke as she surrendered her battle at the age of 51, leaving him a widow at 53... he has had to, again rebuild his life around his family, and start the climb back towards the relaxing rewards he has hopefully earned. At 55, just this week, he again eyes retirement on the horizon, it just looks different from what he was expecting all those years before.
            My dad’s life shows immense heroism, through the dedication to family and the betterment of himself. His steadfast loyalty to the promotion of his values and priorities is an inspiration to me as a husband and father. The single biggest attribute that I see as an overarching theme through his life has been sacrifice. We are taught, by the words of Jesus, in the gospel of John, that no greater love has a man than to lay down his life for his friends. Whereas my dad has never laid down his physical life, he has laid down far more than most people would dream, all for the betterment and promotion of others’ happiness. He is far from perfect, and he would scoff at the notion of being a hero at all. But I hope to have shown the pattern of behavior in his life is one that is steeped in the honorable work of heroism in a beautifully simplistic manner.
            Through the daily work of sacrifice, and a focused desire to always seek the best in people, he has given us a solid example of heroism. His life works as a lamp post to aid in understanding that sacrifice is worth nothing unless it is for others. He has taught me more about being a father and husband than anything else in this world. His flaws and imperfections are balanced by his often humble affect. I count myself lucky to have him as such a direct source of encouragement. I pattern my life on so many of the principles he shared with me, and he has brought me up in a way to allow me to be the man I am. When he does fail, he chooses to do what he feels he must do to make it right. It would be nothing short of hyperbole to say that he has never let me down or disappointed me, but it would be fully inaccurate if I said that those times were not more painful for him than they have been for me.

Be thankful for you father... both the one here on earth, and the one whom bestowed that title from Himself unto those which He burdens with the task. 

No comments:

Post a Comment