Father’s Day 2017

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Father’s Day 2017 was a good day for me. For starters, it was a Sunday.  I had gotten home late the evening before from a wedding in Houston, but invested the time to jot down a few things I wanted included in my Father’s Day message before I went to bed.  I purposefully didn’t set the alarm.  I figured my body would tell me when it was time to get up. The night before I had exercised the same logic and I had slept for over nine hours. I don’t remember anytime in the last forever that I’ve slept that long, but it felt good to be able to sleep.

 

Sunday morning, I checked my watch for accuracy. I had been retired from my day job for just over 17 days.  This was the beginning of day eighteen.  Already, I had made tremendous progress in learning to relax and simply giving myself permission not have to come up with the right answer for every problem presenting itself for resolution. Empathy comes easily for me, but there are limits on what I can control. Truth be told, that has always been the case. I have absolutley no control over anything that ultimately really matters.

 

The remaining church work is more therapeutic than anything else. It has provided me a lifeline over the past forever because it routinely forces me to focus on things that matter most as a balance to some of the other priorities that have consumed my time. Yesterday’s message focused on two things: God’s love and my Dad’s love. I highlighted my discovery of how they blended in to one and the same. The thoughts shared came easily for me and when my time was done, I sensed the message was well received. 

 

We’ve all heard the expression: “Like father/like son”. More often than not, that plays itself out the way Jim Croce describes it in his song: “The Cats In The Cradle”:

 

“A child arrived just the other day,

Came to the world in the usual way,

But there were planes to catch

And bills to pay, he learned to walk while I was away

He was talking before I knew it and as he grew

He said I’m going to be like you Dad,

You know I’m going to be like you.

 

And the cat’s in the cradle, and the silver spoon,

Little Boy Blue, and the Man in the Moon,

When you coming home son, I don’t know when

We’ll get together then, you know we’ll have a good time then…

 

My son turned 10 just the other day,

Said thanks for the ball now c’mon let’s play

Will you teach me to throw, I said not today,

I’ve got a lot to do, he said that’s ok

And he walked away and he smiled and he said

You know I’m going to be like you, Dad,

You know I’m going to be like you…

 

He came from college just the other day,

So much like a man I just had to say,

I’m proud of you, won’t you sit for a while

He shook his head and said with a smile,

What I’m feeling like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys

See you later can I have them please…

 

I’ve long since retired and my son’s moved away

I called him up just the other day

I’d like to see you, if you don’t mind

He said I’d love to Dad, if I could find the time

You see my new job’s a hassle and the kids have the flu

But it’s sure nice talking you Dad, it’s been real nice talking to you.

 

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me

He’d grown up just like me, my boy was just like me.

 

And the cat’s in the cradle, and the silver spoon,

Little Boy Blue, and the Man in the Moon,

When you coming home son, I don’t know when

We’ll get together then, you know we’ll have a good time then”.

 

 

Of course, I threw in some other antidotes including one author’s confession that when his children were very young, he focused on all the wrong things.  Patrick Morley shared in his book, “Man in the Mirror” that when his children were toddlers, he was always uptight about the new scratches that showed up almost daily on their coffee table. He writes, “This was a real point of contention with my wife, who could care less about such matters. My blood boiled when I spotted a new nick in the luster of the smooth-grained wood. Finally, Patsy couldn’t take it anymore and said, ‘You leave my children alone! I’ll not have you ruining a million-dollar child over a $300 table!”

 

That at least gives you something to think about. In the interim, while I’m thinking, my grandchildren aren’t going to eat in my truck. For that matter neither is their Gram.

Following the service, a thoughtful church member shared with me as she made her way out the door: “Don, that was one of your best sermons.”  I couldn’t take credit for any of it. I simply had the privilege of writing it down as the thoughts crossed my mind. I had the sense that I had honored both God and my Dad with the morning message. I don’t always have that kind of affirmation, but yesterday it felt right.

 

All was well in my world. Following church, I opted to make hospital visits.  I smiled later in the day when the husband of one of the patients I visited in ICU sent out an email blast providing an update on his wife’s medical progress to the 55 people who are blind copied on the distribution list.  He signed off with the funny notion: “…reporting live for (name of the patient) news network…we now return you to your normally scheduled programming…

 

Ps. I did smuggle Pastor Don in today while the staff wasn’t looking to lead us in prayer – but don’t tell the hospital administration- I might get sent to detention or have to wash dishes in the cafeteria or something and they only use paper plates everyone throws away so that could get a bit tricky…”

 

Reading his notation not only put a smile on his face, but also affirmed for me how blessed I am to have the privilege to be involved in the lives of others.  That experience greatly enriches my life well beyond my deserving.

 

Andrea and Kevin had invited me for a Father’s Day meal later in the day. It turned out to be an exceptional meal, but then again, that is their signature trademark. There were a couple of things about our evening discussion that gave me pause for concern.  Crediting it as a God thing, they mentioned a conversation they had shared with someone the day before.  By happenstance or as they inferred Divine providence, they had a meaningful conversation with a volunteer at Austin Pets Alive.  Simply referencing a dog shelter gave me pause for concern, but the conversation moved on and I didn’t ask.  Besides that, if they opted for a third dog, I really didn’t have a say in the matter. After all, Andrea’s brother has four dogs.  Crazy isn’t it?

 

Later in the evening Andrea asked if I’d like to watch a show about a talking dog. She had mentioned the series to me before. I think it is “Downward Dog”.  The mention of a dog show brought back my earlier concern.  So before we watched the talking dog on television, I wanted to make sure we were on a level playing field and that there was no misunderstanding.

 

I said: “Tell me more about your visit to Austin Pets Alive”. So it really was none of my concern, but on the outside chance that they were shopping for Gram a new dog, I wanted to make it clear that was not an option. I am even more adamant about that than I am about my grandkids not eating in my truck.  Neither is going to happen in my lifetime.

 

As it turns out, Austin Pets Alive is one of the non-profit charitable organizations that Kevin regularly supports. They were onsite at the invitation of the organization. It had nothing to do with Gram or a new dog.


Like I said, “Mine was a perfect Father’s Day.”

 

All My Best!

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Don

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