I had a great trip to Ohio this week. I was in a rural town in the middle of Ohio. Great people and a wonderful hospital. I wish I could say the trip itself was good. My flight to Cleveland Tuesday night was delayed by over an hour. Instead of getting to my hotel Wednesday morning at 1, it was 2:30 by the time I rolled into the local motel. I got 4-1/2 good hours of sleep before the internal alarm woke me up. Unable to go back to sleep, I decided to lay in bed for a little while. I got in an hour of ESPN (can’t remember the last time I did that), a little bit of news and then the beginning of a movie. Suddenly, around 10:45, this thought hit me–check out time is at 11 and I have 15 minutes to roll out of bed, get dressed, get packed and get out.
That’s kind of how the whole trip went. The event was great but every other part of the trip was chaotic. Late shuttle for the rental car. Five 0’clock traffic in Cleveland. All three flights (two legs on the return trip) delayed by over an hour. Chicago Midway was the busiest I’ve ever seen it because lots of flights were coming in but no one was leaving.
Needless to say, when I crawled into my bed at 1:15 I was exhausted. I rolled over and watched my wife for a few minutes. I could just see her face in the dim glow of the moon that came in from the outside. It wasn’t long–as you can imagine–before I was drifting off to sleep myself. But I had just enough time to think three quick thoughts: I am a very blessed man. I sure do love my life. I hope I get 40 more years next to this woman so I can see where God takes us, watch my kids grow up and welcome my grandchildren into this world.
Today, as I was thinking back, another thought stirred in light of this coming weekend. I wonder what my dad would think of me now. It’s natural to think of him with the weekend approaching. It’s been a decade since he died. I wonder how many times he crawled into bed next to my mom and felt the same kind of thoughts I did. I wonder how many times he prayed for one more year, one more anniversary or one more grandchild. At almost 47 years old, I wear a lot of hats–husband, father, son, brother, head of a ministry, speaker, author, student minister, deacon, church member, neighbor…you get the idea. You wear hats of your own. Each of those hats is associated with a lot of voices that speak into my life. Few have ever carried the weight that my dad’s did for me. Few ever will. I hope my kids will some day be able to say the same for me. I wish I had listened more and argued less. I wish I had known then what I know now. I would have appreciated more the hours he gave me, the way he loved his family, and the way he helped others. I would have taken more pictures, jotted more notes and observed him closer so I’d know what kind of daddy to be for my own family.
Here’s a shout out to all of you dads this weekend. Thanks for doing what you do to care for your families. Thank you for sticking with them in tough times and giving them that voice in their lives that can guide them. And, if your not that kind of dad, if you think you’ve messed up, screwed up or completely blown up your chance to get it right for your family–don’t believe it. There is time. Start today. Not later today but right now. Choose to fight for your family. Choose to love them deeply. Choose them over the world. Pray for them passionately and frequently. Take them to church. Choose faith over hobbies and ball games and everything else that should come second. Most of all, never apologize for following after Christ. You and I can’t ever be the dads we need to be until we get that one thing right. My daddy did.