Welcome to another Finish the Sentence Friday and Use Your Words. That means I have two blog hops of other bloggers sharing a similar prompt to let you roam around with your favorite drink and read. It’s better writing than a 5 dollar grocery store magazine, and it’s shorter than a book, and it’s free.
My father’s best advice was…
joke ~ family ~ twisted ~ near ~ resurface ~ togetherness
They were submitted by: http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/
The biggest funeral I ever attended was my father’s funeral. So many people showed up that people were standing like a crowd around the pews in the aisles. A vibrantly diverse bunch, from some of the town’s most prominent leaders and merchants to hard-working blue collar laborers… separated by class systems yet unified by love and respect. A togetherness of individuals who were equally inspired by the character of a disciplined man of great faith.
While I’m his daughter, and I tend to over-glorify him in his death hoisting him high because I love him that much, this is no hyperbole. My father was special. If my family were Mayan, he’d have been an elder. If my life was Harry Potter, he would have been Albus Dumbledore. He was the type of man someone like Martin Luther King, Jr., would look up to, behind the scenes inspiration for other people’s greatness, like a teacher or minister everyone has in their past who challenged them to be better.
His secret behind all his success… God. He went to church every Sunday, and in many cases, Sunday nights and Wednesday nights. But more importantly, he woke up every morning before sunrise, and he would sit at the kitchen table, Indian Style on a chair, barefoot, with a pack of cigarettes and a glass of orange juice, and he would spend about an hour or two in prayer. The cat always sat near him through this, enjoying her time with him without the distraction of the day. He also read his Bible a lot, highlighting his favorite passages, writing notes on the pages with maps and white space.
He lived his life for God to the fullest. For years, he owned a radio station in Christian Format: WEIF radio (Where Everyone is Family). It was AM back in a time when FM was killing the AM radio star, but he was still a local pillar of the community with that station. Even 14 years later, I can go visit that town, and say something about that station to a group of people, and at least 1 person will know who I’m talking about and want to shake my hand for being his daughter and tell me a story of how my father helped them somehow. He was offered a half million in the mid-1980’s for that station, and while he struggled to pay bills, he turned it down. He wanted to keep God on the air waves. Financial struggle with the radio station eventually resurfaced, and he gave the radio station to our church before pursuing a better paying job.
Now I know a lot of people just don’t believe in Christianity, but I’m telling you, his love for God and his desire to know God is exactly what gave him the wisdom, strength, and courage he needed in every step of his life, from his job to his role as a parent. He stood out from all the Christians because his search for truth was sincere. He stood out from all the heathens because his light was real.
His life was a series of character-building activities because God challenged him to do as such. The people who have hurt him the most in his life, he forgave. The job nobody wanted to do, he did and he did it well with all his heart. He sacrificed many selfish things for the greater good, in the name of what he felt was right.
He was the giver of advice and lectures. He stopped spanking me and started lecturing me around the age of 7. There were many times I did the right thing to avoid a lecture. He really liked the cliches of the world, though I had no idea they were cliche when he dished them out. I think it’s because everything I did, he sincerely thought about it long and hard before approaching me with it, and he wanted to give me something easy to remember. He made cliche work. Some of the quotes of fatherly advice that comes to mind…
“It is what it is.” His all-time favorite.
“Every decision you make has consequences. You have to think things through.”
“Our failures are stepping stones to success.”
“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”
“This too shall pass.”
“Let it be.”
“Walk it off.”
“Once you lose my trust, you have to earn it back, and it will take a lot more time and effort to earn it back than it would take to have kept it in the first place.”
“Things are how you make them.”
“Here’s the deal…”
Not all of my father’s advice was serious; some were more of a joke. “He who farts in church sits in his own pew.” When he was dying of cancer and the morphine had twisted his mind, his advice more or less became “abstract.” My favorite, “You’re running out of cigarettes every time you ash.”
My memory is fading with age and motherhood. Of all the things I can remember my father ever telling me, I think his greatest advice was not in the form of words, but in the form of actions. His love for God is the best advice my father ever gave me.
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