It’s a little hard to write a post about my father, because I know some of my readers also knew him and have their own thoughts about who he was. Some knew him as their father, too, and others as a family friend, or as the father of their friend (me.) Some thought of him as an outstanding minister, which he was. But all I can do is write about him from my own perspective, and trust that people understand that my perspective is both unique and personal.
Like most men of his generation, my dad thought of himself as the absolute head of the family, and he expected to be treated as such. He did have a temper, which meant I always tried my best not to make him angry. Now I realize that his angry outbursts were probably a result of his struggle with depression, but that’s a perspective I didn’t have as a child.
I know I inherited his creativity, his sense of humor, his love of reading and writing, and his love of all animals, but particularly for dogs and horses. Sadly, I also inherited his love for sweets and his tendency to carry extra weight around the midsection.
My father showed me by example how to live according to your principles. Growing up, I knew of very few other fathers who had given up a successful and well-paying business career to enroll in seminary and become a chronically over-worked and under-paid minister. And I noticed how he always donated generously to anyone who asked, even when he couldn’t really afford to do so. I remember that he always did and said what he thought was right, even when his opinions weren’t particularly popular.
Like all of us, my dad was a complicated person, and far from perfect. I know I never completely understood him, partly because we can’t ever see our parents (or children) truly objectively, and partly because I think it’s impossible to ever fully understand anyone else.
But I choose to remember the father who was always there, who bought me the horse I so desperately wanted when I was twelve, who stood patiently outside in the freezing rain while I decided exactly which Christmas tree we should buy, who always listened when I needed to talk, and who I knew I could trust. I remember the father who regularly cooked for us back in the days when most men stayed out of the kitchen, dyed the mashed potatoes pink when we asked him to, and who made me hot tea with lemon and honey when I was sick with a bad cold.