My Dad is pretty wise. One of the things he’s wise about is this thing of saying nice things about people. Before they die.
We often wait until after people pass away to say what we think about them. We stand up at the funeral and we say how great the person was, and what a huge impact they had on our lives. And that’s great, a good way to remember them.
But what if we said these lovely things to them? Before they died. So that they could be encouraged too.
This Saturday we had the chance to do that for my Dad. It was his 70th birthday party so we all got together and said nice things about him, and I want to share my nice things with you.
My Dad has shown me what a real man, a good man, a Godly man is.
I’ve been thinking back through my memories.
I think my earliest is Dad cooking dinner for my brother Anthony and myself while Mum was in hospital with my younger sister. Scrambled eggs on toast with tomato sauce has a special place in my memory, as does sausages and toast. (His cooking skills have improved over time and I’d like to say that his roast dinner with apple pie for dessert was a highlight when my sister Catherine was visiting this year.)
I remember driving with Dad and listening to *gasp* rock music on 7HO FM, or more commonly AM or PM the ABC talk radio shows.
I remember making bricks out of wet newspaper in a special brick making machine. They were dried afterwards in the sun and were burned in our wood heater.
I remember going on a family biking holiday around Brunie Island and how Dad convinced Catherine that there was a bunyip in the dam over the fence. And another trip to Brunie where we fished off the pier and caught a squid.
I remember the laundry being turned into a photography dark room, black plastic on the windows, the smell of the photography chemicals, the wonder that was the enlarging machine.
I remember microphones being set up all around our lounge room as Dad prepared to record Mum’s music. And I remember being soundly told off for eating popping candy at a concert that Dad was recording. (Sorry Dad).
One of my greatest childhood memories is Dad reading to us. All kinds of books. He read the whole of The Lord of the Rings to us as a family. I tried that with my kids, it didn’t work, there was no chance they’d sit through it. But for me, Dad reading to our family, all of us sat up in their double bed, or maybe around a picnic in the park, these are some of my fondest memories.
Dad’s career path wasn’t straightforward. But when people tell me that I am so brave to quit uni and try something new, I know I’m just doing what was modelled for me by this brave man who quit his job as a telecom technician to work with addicts, then moved on to be the administrator of a children’s home, then joined Youth With A Mission, worked in a radio station, moved to the USA with Christian Performing Arts Fellowship, and came home to get ordained and work as a minister in a church. Sometimes the reason for the change was because Dad needed something new, sometimes it was to give Mum the chance to live her dreams. Each of them in the partnership was valued equally, each putting the others interests before their own. Dad and Mum have modelled a Godly marriage.
Recently Dad has battled with physical injuries from his fall when he was renovating, and with mental illness – years of deep depression. He is uncomplaining, he perseveres, he gets up every morning and gets on with it. And at the same time he is vulnerable, letting people in, telling them where he is at. Dad has shown me that you can be vulnerable and strong at the same time.
Dad’s love and care for those around him has sometimes been a detriment to his own health or energy but he doesn’t stop putting others first. He is a true servant leader. He has great skill in taking a mess of an organisation and sorting it out, looking after people first along the way. He is a diplomat and a pastor.
I am so very proud of my father. And so very grateful to God for putting me in this wonderful family. I hope that I can live up to his example, in my own way.
Thanks Dad for being you.
I hope you don’t mind this very personal blog post. Next week’s will be personal too 🙂
Are you missing some of my blog posts? They come out every Monday. Sign up to follow the A Quiet Life blog on WordPress, or you can sign up to my newsletter on www.ruthamos.com.au and you will receive every post straight to your email inbox. You will also find my podcast, my book ‘My Year of Saying No’, and any short stories or other books will be up there as they come along.
If you would like to support this blog and the podcast then you can head over to Patreon.com/quietlife and help me out for as little as a dollar a month. Thank you so much!