It’s been a tremendously busy week this far. And there are so many things that I could write about… being called for jury duty, Spy Wednesday (the day that Judas made the deal to betray Jesus) was yesterday or a host of other topics that seem to be timely and worthy of writing about. But one thing stands out above all the rest and that is the fact that this past Tuesday, April 4th, Dad would have been 100 years old. Now I am not one to believe that birthdays continue in heaven, so you won’t hear or see me wish Dad a “Happy heavenly birthday”, but I think it is noteworthy that a century ago my father was born and made a significant impact in the lives of many family members and friends.
Dad passed away when I was 25 years old and that was 45 years ago this year. I still have vivid memories of my time growing up with Mom and Dad, but there is no denying that I would have liked to have had him around longer.
In fact, I have several friends from grammar school who still have a parent(s) living and what a joy it must be for them to be able to spend time with a mother or father – or both. Now I know there were times that I got frustrated with one or both of my parents but what I would give to still have the chance to speak and interact with them again!
Janet’s father lived to be 92 and one of her friends, Sue, had a father who also lived into his nineties. George, another classmate of mine, lost his mother a year or two ago and Eric still has the great fortune to have his Mom to this day! I tell you the truth, there are things that I do to this day that were taught to me by my father – but how much more could I have learned if he was still here?
In addition to family values, I learned valuable business skills from Dad. He was a stickler for getting back to people as soon as they called if he had been unavailable when they tried to contact him. Today, I am known for that very same thing – I can’t help but get back to folks at my earliest possible convenience. During the heyday of my career, I used my mobile phone more than 7000 minutes a month speaking with people. I am grateful to him for so many things that over the years have contributed to my success.
And Dad taught me how to balance a checkbook after I had a problem very early in my life with not having the correct balance in my register. To this day, I still print off a paper statement each month from the bank and hand balance each of our accounts – to the penny. The kids think I am nuts – of course, they grew up in the era of electronic banking and phone apps so they can check whether or not something has cleared the bank. I just can’t be satisfied with that. So, it’s one of the monthly jobs I have – to balance the statements. And you know what, I feel close to Dad when I do that – and I still consider it an essential step in the month end close of the books, both personal and professional.
I even learned that when Dad stapled something on an angle in the top left hand corner, it meant that the item wasn’t complete. There was some outstanding thing that had to happen before the matter could be considered finished – a receipt to be received, a commission check to be issued, a phone call returned, to name a few things that could need to be done. When the item was finished, the angled staple was removed and another staple was placed horizontally. Then, and only then, could the work be filed or archived. I know this sounds crazy but I’m 70 years old now, 15 years older than Dad was when he died, and I still follow this teaching I learned so many years ago.
Or how about when a column of numbers won’t balance and is off by 9? I was taught that meant that I had transposed two numbers when adding them up on a calculator. How many times that has proven to be the case!
There are so many things that I learned from Dad, particularly about the business world. There is no doubt that this greatly influenced my career and family life in more ways than I can count. And I know that I am a dinosaur in so many of my practices, but that just fine with me – I know who I am and if by some miracle Dad walked in the door today, there are many things that he would find the same from the time that he left us.
But nothing could replace the joy of being able to chat with him, have a lunch, or talk about what has happened since his passing. Our verse for tonight is from the Proverbs, written by Solomon. He tells us, in Proverbs 1:8-9, “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.”
My encouragement this evening is even if you didn’t have a wonderful father, you have the best Father ever in heaven who loves you more than you know. My prayer is that you have, or will, experience the deep love of an earthly father as well. I know that I did and I am so grateful for the life of Dad and the time that I had with him. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…