Today is my Dad’s 80th birthday! Wow. It is hard to believe. He is as active and invested and diligent as I have always remembered him to be. He might move at a slightly slower pace and enjoy an extra nap here and there, but he inspires me!
Dad and I share a love for many things… a walk in Valley Green along the Wissahickon Creek, playing or watching good tennis, a fun math riddle, a good chat about our latest discovery as we study God’s Word, singing hymns around the piano… and not to be forgotten, some die-hard favorite foods like a medium-well grilled filet mignon, a nice ham & cheese sandwich on fresh bread with Lays potato chips, a tasty handful of nuts, fresh fruit or a homemade cookie! As true Philadelphians, Tasty-cakes are always a welcome indulgence too!!!
We are both a little (lot?) type A, punctual, exact, orderly, predictable, often too serious, sometimes quiet and contemplative… but we both love and care about people deeply, and thrive on reaching out to others with whatever help we can offer. We are a very loyal bunch – reliable and steadfast. Because of that strong, serious side, we both enjoy others who can lighten us up a little and bring out a good old-fashioned belly laugh!
As we honor him today, it is a joy to share a few things I’ve learned from my Dad…
Be a student of God’s Word. Be faithful. Stand firm in truth. Be actively invested in the local church. Love God’s people. Give your very best to whatever the Lord calls you to do. Teach by example (humbling though that may be!).
Get a good education. Work hard. Be resourceful. Finish what you start. Be known as a problem-solver, a peace-maker. Care about others; take notice of their needs and do whatever you can to help them succeed. Share what you’ve learned. Be humble, but always reaching to meet a new goal.
Be frugal with yourself, but generous with others. Be disciplined in healthy habits so that indulging every once in a while is really OK. A little sweet something, any time past noon, is never a bad thing, especially if it is a cinnamon heart spritz cookie!
Stay active. When it comes to tennis, the body may slow down over time, but make sure your serve still packs a punch… and a well-placed shot has a much greater impact than a lot of running!!! (as Max Lucado might say: “true in tennis, true in life??”)
As the years pass, one huge lesson we are learning from my Dad is how to faithfully love and care for a spouse. Mom and Dad are honestly a bit lost without each other. After 55 years of marriage, it is sweet to see how their worlds are really not complete if they are not together. Mom has bravely soldiered through recent mishaps and health struggles and Dad has worked tirelessly to care for her needs. He takes great pride and joy in maintaining their own little sanctuary in their home and gardens, their many bird feeders and deer deterrents! He quietly goes about his business of growing and maintaining the things that delight Mom’s heart. That is what love looks like!
Even at 80, my Dad is still learning, and we’re still looking to him for lessons: take time to sit (neither of us are known for sitting still for long!), start the day with Bible reading and prayer, trust the Lord for He is always faithful, spend time with the kids, keep them active with walks, bike rides, stories, games, playing at the park. Stay teachable. Still study hard, work hard, give your very best energy for the good of others, but an afternoon nap in the breeze on the back patio is always a great choice too!!!
These few thoughts only scrape the surface… we are blessed to have such a living legacy, a Godly heritage! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!! With love and thanks for all you do to make me proud to say, “that’s MY Dad!” I love you!
Proverbs 13:22 ~ A good man leaves an inheritance of moral stability and goodness to his children’s children.
I Corinthians 16:13 ~ Stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
Proverbs 14:26 ~ Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 10:9 ~ He who walks in integrity walks securely.
Titus 2:7 ~ In everything, showing a pattern of good works, with integrity and dignity in your teaching.
2 Timothy 2:21 ~ He will be a vessel of honorable use… useful to the Master, ready for every good work.
Deuteronomy 10:12 ~ What does the Lord require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.