Father’s Day is this weekend. Wow, it really creeps up on a girl. First it’s Mother’s Day and everyone wants to do something fabulous for Mom then Father’s Day nears and everyone considers which tie to buy for Dad. What are you getting your Dad this year? I’ve been told my dad wants a gift certificate for Father’s Day. I hate giving Gift Certificates (unless it is specifically requested – then I love it). I think he might like this better (does this mean I don’t have to purchase the gift certificate??)
Growing up, I remember my dad always writing letter to us and to my mom. I recall him writing songs to my mom. He may not realize it but I think deep down, he’s a writer; a word artist. But hey, maybe I get it from my mom. For all the letters you wrote to us (all the letters you sowed) here is one for you, Dad.
On Sunday I spoke with some friends of mine; a daughter and a father. She was getting ready to get into her car with her family and head to Nashville. Her Dad was a little more than sad. It reminded me so much of my dad several years ago.
I did it. I moved to Mobile, Alabama. Only 9 and half, okay, 10 short hours from my home town of Austin, Texas. My dad (and mom) helped me move (He has helped me move so many times I’ve lost count – he’s really good at it). After we spent all afternoon moving my things (at least it was January and not June) we headed off to Walmart (you know how that goes. There are always a few things you need that you can’t find right away, so you just go to Walmart and buy them). We lost my dad the Super Walmart on Schillinger’s Road in Mobile, Alabama. Who knew you could lose someone in Walmart? We found him checking out. He had purchased several items not “on the list” (as my list-making Mamma would say).
When we made it back to the apartment we had so much to do. The next day, my dad gave me two items that have stuck with me. One was a cactus to remind me of Texas (Okay, we live in Central Texas where we actually have trees – unlike where my sister lives out in West Texas where the cactus grow in abundance). The cactus was pretty funny because it had this flower on top of it. Naturally, I thought (I’m sooo not a plant person) that this was a “blooming cactus”. Yeah, the flower was glued on…I only noticed this after owning the cactus for a year. They must used some really good glue at Walmart because that cactus is on my parents’ front porch and the flower is still perched right on top, even though the cactus has grown to twice its original size (with my green thumb it only took 6 years to double in size). The second gift was a picture. If you haven’t visited my home, then I have to tell you, I have distinct taste in decor. I have many photos on the walls but little “art”. My reasoning is, I will collect art when I can afford real paintings. I have some framed posters and sketches from New York City. I have a beautiful photo I picked up in Colorado. I have two small great European style paintings in our guest room. Basically, I’m picky. I haven’t hung one thing on the walls of our bedroom because I haven’t found anything yet that I love. Having said all of this, let me tell you about the picture my dad bought for me. Some people might look at the picture and think “Mary had a little Lamb”. It is of a young girl with a staff and several sheep. It’s not exactly what I would choose. But I will NEVER part with that picture. Where ever I live, that picture will go with me. I was planning on hanging it in our guest room but we’ve had a guest living with us so I haven’t gotten around to it. It’s sitting in our “office space”. So what is it about this picture that cherish? It’s the letter my dad wrote to me on the back of it. My Dad “gave me” Psalm 27. (Go READ it!). When my dad looked at that picture he didn’t see “Mary had a little Lamb” he saw a girl shepherding. He saw a caregiver; a pastor; a wise counselor. He saw me; He saw things in me I had never seen in myself. When he “gave me” Psalm 27, he didn’ t write it out. I asked him, “What does Psalm 27 say?” He began to quote it word for word because he knows the Word. Part of the Psalm says, “Though my mother and father forsake me, You will never leave me” (a promise that God would always be with me even when my parents were not). Another part says, “When You said, ‘Seek My face’. My heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek’.” My heart has often wispered those words to God. One of my very favorite parts says, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living”. As he quoted that Psalm, everyone present teared up…he didn’t make it all the way through without a few tears. That Psalm kept me going during some very difficult times while I lived in Alabama.
My Dad was pretty tore up about me moving to Alabama. For the first year, he called me every month and asked if I was ready to move home. He would say, “I’ll come get you.” Five years later, I did move back to Texas. My mom flew out to help me pack and my dad brought the truck out a few days later. Within 4 weeks of making the decision to move, my feet were on Texas soil once more.
Dad, thank you helping me move so many times. I can’t promise we will always live around the corner. Only God knows where we will go from here. Alabama really wasn’t all that far away but thank you for caring that it was too far for you to come over and help me paint a wall (although I did pretty good once you talked me through plaster over the phone) or too far to help me change a tire (Thank God for your prayers and that nice trucker who stopped and helped me change my tire just outside of Mobile – past the Dolly Parton Bridge – there is no cell phone reception out there). Mostly, thank you for your prayers that have carried me through some very difficult times and continue to carry me.