The week of the third anniversary of my father’s passing a couple of weeks ago I had a dream about him. Although I think of him and my mother often, missing them daily, I rarely dream about them so this was an unusual occurrence and I awoke surprised and somewhat startled it seemed so real as dreams often do. The dream was just one of those every day, “routine” conversations we had had many times during those last 10 years or so of his life after our relationship was re-established. More about that in my June 2013 post https://freedomtogrowblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/fathers-day-celebrating-beauty-for-ashes/
In our routine conversations he would always say, “How are you?”
My routine reply, “Good – how are you?” An insignificant situation and conversation we had had hundreds of times and yet so significant in that dream because we don’t get to do that anymore. That which was common is now something much missed.
What was also memorable about this dream was that I remembered in the midst of our conversation my dad was on his way to work. Working was something that very much defined my dad.
My father was a complicated man who I knew but never really knew – in my life for 59 years and, yet, in many ways very distant. But there were things I did know about him and appreciate still today – like getting up every day and going to work. I’m thankful for that.
You could tell he was a hard-working man as he usually came home wearing some of the day’s efforts in dirt, sweat and tiredness. I don’t think anyone really “enjoys” hard work but when that is your way to provide for your family, it’s just what you do.
When my dad became ill with Parkinson Disease in his late 70’s, he was still working manual labor. His illness cost him much of the enjoyment of life but I think he also missed the ability of going to work when he wanted to.
Another thing I knew about my dad, he felt very strong about being the protector. Even as an adult, one thing I could count on my dad routinely saying in our conversations was, “Where are you going now?” I would tell him of all the things on my list to do. Then he would ALWAYS say, “OK. Be careful, please.”
We’re coming up on another Father’s Day and I’m very thankful our country embraces this holiday. I know it was initiated for commerce, but holidays benefit more than a few vendors. They bring to remembrance things that matter in the midst of the routine of life; and fathers matter!
From the Bible we learn that God created fathers to lead, provide for and protect families. It’s a high calling! When fathers lead, provide for and protect, not just a family is blessed – society is blessed. Not all dads do everything right, but we can be thankful for the role they fill – however flawed. In fact, one of the Ten Commandments even reminds us how important fathers and mothers are to God – and therefore, should be to us.
Exodus 20:12 says, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.” Ephesians 6:2 echoes that verse but adds even more emphasis saying, “…..This is the first commandment with a promise…..” When we honor what God commands, blessing follows – that’s a promise!
Early Biblical fathers such as Noah, Abraham, and Moses were not perfect men, but made the choices and sacrifices to lead their families and a nation to follow God. Our “founding fathers” sacrificed their resources and lives to build a nation where families could be free to worship God and live a meaningful life. We are the benefactors, the children, so to speak, of these fathers’ sacrifices.
As the significance of this nation’s Biblical foundation is eroded, so also eroded has become the role of fathers. But thankfully there are still fathers who get up every day to do the “routine” – to lead, provide for and protect their family. They may not talk much. They may have many faults, but they are important to God and to society.
So this dream sequence conversation between me and my dad was brief and routine – and sweet. He just stopped by to say hello and see how I was doing. He was on his way to work because that’s what fathers do. Thanks, Dad, for your hard work and always watching out for me. Will talk to you again soon.