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Archive for the tag “Father’s Day”

Father of Girls

My Dad’s favorite singer was Perry Como or, as Bing Crosby referred to him, “the man who invented casual.” I can picture Dad sitting in the living room with his eyes closed and head tilted back soaking up Como’s every note. “Now he is a singer,” Dad would say, “every note is effortless.”

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“Mr. C,” as he was nicknamed, sold millions of records. He also pioneered the weekly musical variety television show. He was the 7th of 13 children and when his parents emigrated from Italy, he was the first to be born in the United States. Along with his smooth-as-silk voice, he was known for his high integrity and demand for decency. If he felt something in one of his TV shows crossed the line, he would publicly apologize for it in his next show. Imagine…

One Christmas back in 2003 while visiting my parents’ home, we were listening to Perry softly crooning many of our favorite Christmas songs. Then came The Father of Girls. I had not heard the song before and was captivated by the lyrics and melody. You see, I was the father of a girl and every note he sang made me think of my daughter. Abby was then 13 years old, beautiful, full of personality and adventure. I was a nervous wreck.

We somehow survived Abby’s teenage years and I certainly took to heart the message from the song, When you’re the father of boys you worry. But when you’re the father of girls, you do more than that…you pray.

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And now I have had that experience that simultaneously fills a Dad’s heart with joy and dread: a young man asked if I would give my blessing and permission for him to ask my little girl to marry him. I knew it was coming, but was woefully unprepared. I did my best to not appear a blubbering idiot, but failed miserably. He was asking for my treasure.

So it was soon thereafter, a young man named Alex got down on a knee and with my blessing, asked my beautiful daughter, Abby, to marry him. She said, “Yes!” of course. I had no doubt she would. (You can see their engagement video here.)

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I had the opportunity to record my own rendition of Father of Girls which you can see the music video HERE. The song lyrics rapidly move through time saying, “From the time of diaper and pin, till the time she cries ‘don’t come in,’ till the time you gown her in white and give her away…” Now these lyrics are coming true and the emotions running through my head and heart are difficult to describe.  Can I ever really “give her away?”

It’s Father’s Day weekend and Abby will be out of town. She’ll call of course; probably FaceTime. We’ll talk about all the wedding plans underway and she’ll beam with excitement. She’ll ask how I’m doing with all the wedding thoughts and plans and my eyes will fill with tears as a thousand memories flood through my heart and brain. After all, it really was just yesterday I was trying to figure out those diaper and pin things.

Oh, did I mention they will be living in Australia?

Time to listen to Father of Girls again.

 

World’s Greatest Dad

Perhaps you have heard of a man named, Dick Hoyt.  Many have described him as, “The World’s Greatest Dad,” and for good reason.  His son, Rick, suffered severe brain damage at birth and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.  Understanding the tremendous difficulties that lay ahead, doctors encouraged Dick and his wife to put their son in an institution. “He will be a vegetable all his life” they explained.

If you know their story, you know that Dick and his wife paid no attention to that advice.  In fact, they did the opposite.  Although their son could not speak nor use his arms or legs, they raised him just like any other child. Rick not only graduated from a public high school, he also graduated from Boston University.  Today, he lives in his own apartment aided by personal care givers.

Team Hoyt

Team Hoyt

What makes their story even more remarkable, however, are the almost impossible to believe feats they have achieved together. They are known as “Team Hoyt” and I encourage you to watch Mary Carillo’s “Real Sports” special called, “Labor of Love” regarding this father and son. You can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roZrT_tciKA

Their running together began some 32 years ago in a 5 mile charity race to help a paralyzed boy in their community.  Rick wanted to be an encouragement to others like him and got his dad to push him in a modified clunky stroller. Most assumed “Team Hoyt” would simply get to the corner, turn around, and come back. But when they got to the corner, they kept going.  They didn’t stop until they finished the entire 5 mile race coming in second from last. (They have never finished in last place.)

When they got home that night, Rick wrote on his computer, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like my disability disappears.”  Dick was so moved by the joy his son experienced during the race that from that point forward he told his son, “I’ll be your arms and legs.”

The lengths to which Dick Hoyt has gone to fill his son with joy are truly remarkable.  To be more precise, Over the last 30 plus years, Dick has pushed, pulled, and carried his  son in close to 1,100 races — most of them being marathons, triathlons and ironman events.  If you are able to watch the video, you will see how their story has touched and inspired thousands of others — especially those whose children suffer from disabilities.

As a father, I couldn’t help saying “thank you” to the Lord for healthy children as I watched the video.  I also couldn’t help but wonder to what extent I would go to for my children.  And then, I couldn’t help but consider the unimaginable extent to which my Heavenly Father went for me…and you

“Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” (Romans 8:32)

I remember a conversation I had with my dad about Lazarus.  We wondered if he was upset when Jesus called him back from the dead (see John 11).  Lazarus’ loved ones were, of course, overjoyed.  But Lazarus?  And then Dad said something I’ve never forgotten, that “…Lazarus had to die again.”  Now that would stink!

Dad then went on to discuss with me how Jesus came to save us, the real us, our souls — not our weak and broken bodies.  Lazarus didn’t need or want that broken down body anymore.  In my minds eye, I think of him going privately to Jesus and saying, “Hey man, thanks, but did you really have to bring me back?”

So I rejoice with “Team Hoyt” and the inspiration they bring.  But just like us, the only ending to their story that will make it all worthwhile is knowing the one who brought Lazarus back to life just by calling his name.

The truth is, as strong as we Dads would like you to think we are, we are very weak, imperfect people with all sorts of issues.  There is only one Father we can truly rely upon.  And this Father loves us so much, He didn’t spare His own Son so that we could live with Him…forever!  There is no other competition.  He is the World’s Greatest Father!

Happy Father’s Day!

Talking to Moses

I answered the phone the other day and the person on the other end asked to speak to my Dad.  I joyfully responded, “I’m sorry, he can’t come to the phone right now, he’s busy talking to Moses.”  There was a long pause and then he said:

Salesman: When would be a good time for me to call back?

Ed:  Want me to put you on hold?

Salesman: Do you think he’ll be long?

Ed: Well, you know Moses, he can be longwinded.

Salesman: Which Moses are you talking about?

Ed: How many Moses’ do you know?

Salesman: I’ve only heard of one.

Ed: Well, that’s probably him.

There was another long pause as the salesman was trying to put two and two together.

Ed: Do you still want me to put you on hold?

Salesman (still a bit unsure):  How long do you think he’ll be?

Ed: Forever!

Our conversation ended as the salesman apologized and said he wasn’t able to wait “forever”.  I have no idea what he was trying to sell.

It’s interesting the kind of things you miss about someone.  I was very close to my Dad and everywhere I turn there are memories of places we enjoyed being together.  It seems I miss him the most in the simple routine of our various activities.  I catch myself thinking, “Dad would have really enjoyed that”.

But given the choice, there is no doubt talking to Moses and living–really living–in a place where there is no sun, moon or stars because the light radiating from the presence of God illuminates the entire place; wins out every time.  And how beautiful that the Bible describes Heaven as a place where God wipes away our tears; where there is no sadness, no sorrow, no sickness, no heartaches, no disease, and no death.

I’d always get my Dad a little something for Father’s Day.  Usually some clothes or some little trinket.  Truth is, I’d be hard pressed to remember any of the things I bought him.  “Things” seem rather trivial when you know your Dad is living in utter joy in the presence of Jesus…and talking to Moses.

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  Dad and his 4 boys

 When I first became a father, I experienced an instant and intense love for an infant that could do nothing for me. It was perhaps the first time I tasted what unconditional love is like.  Of course, I am greatly polluted by sin and thus even that is tainted. But on my first Father’s Day–the day my first child was born–I remember holding him in my arms with one primary thought running through my brain: I want to be with you forever!

There is only One person who can make that happen…and it’s not Moses…and certainly not me.  The only thing I have ever really wanted for Father’s Day is the same thing my Dad wanted.  It is the gift of being together forever.  It is a gift only Jesus can give.

Remember the story of the Roman jailer who was about to kill himself because he thought all his prisoners had escaped, including Paul and Silas?  It’s a great Father’s Day story found in Acts 16.  The jailer is about to fall on his own sword when Paul shouted, “Stop, we are all here.”  Instantly recognizing it was God himself at work, the jailer fell down trembling before Paul and asked, “What must I do to be saved?”

Paul then delivered a life-changing, uncomplicated, directly to the point 16-word sermon: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household” (Acts 16:31 NLV).

Words cannot express my joy and thankfulness that Jesus has given me the ultimate Father’s Day gift.  Jesus has saved me and my entire household.  And just in case you didn’t know, that same gift is for you, too.  Oh, it’s FREE.

Sure, I’ll accept the little trinkets.  I love getting presents…and I could use a new 3-wood (hint, hint).  But my Father’s Day gift has already been given.  And one day, we’ll all be hanging out with Dad…and talking to Moses.

Happy Father’s Day…Forever!

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