It’s crazy how often the theme on dads and fathers keeps popping up lately. I just can’t seem to shake it. Whether from work, friends, or home, I keep thinking about my dad and the other father figures in my life.
Fathers are so important to our identity. Depending on the dad, this could either be good, bad, or a combination of the two. I think my dad was more of a combination, and I learned some unique things from him:
- Throwing a Frisbee and playing disc golf
- Understanding bumper pool (few of my friends have never even heard of this game)
- Learning to identify, classify, and price antiques
- Sanding, finishing, and restoring furniture
- Using a riding lawn mower
- Playing many variations of poker and other card games
The list goes on and on. We really do learn a lot from our dads.
The problem though is that while we’re learning all kinds of new skills, we also pick up on the destructive habits. There are some things that my dad said and did that I’m ashamed of, and I wish that I could’ve ignored or never seen many of these things happen. However, this just isn’t true or even possible.
Then again, though there are some things my dad did that I hope to never repeat, I know there’s still a lot to learn from him. Furthermore, I’ve also chosen to learn from his mistakes and do my best to try and be better – whether for the sake of myself, my wife, my friends, or even my future kids.
My only regret is not realizing the importance of a dad sooner. My father died nearly five years ago, and I didn’t get to say goodbye. He unexpectedly had a massive heart failure at the age of 54. I really wish that we could’ve talked more and reconciled some of our differences…
Like I said, I’ve only realized recently the importance of having a father or father figures in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always known dads are important. However, I think I underestimated the impact they can have on my life beyond adolescence.
Though I can never bring back my dad, I find myself fortunate enough that other, older males have stepped into my life and reached out to guide me every now and then. Most of them have children of their own, and I appreciate the way they’ve made room in their hearts for me. It’s taken some time for me to let them in, but I’m glad I did. They’ve been amazing guys, and I hope that they can continue to help me along the way.
I wanted to also give a special shout out to one guy in particular. His name is Mike Witthoft, and he’s a great husband and father to his family. I appreciate the way he’s opened up his home and shared his life with my wife and me for the past four or five years. It’s meant a lot.
I’ve known for about 14 years that God is my true Father, but sometimes this concept is hard to understand or even believe. Our earthly fathers often shape and influence our view of God, for better or worse. Fortunately, I’ve had some good guys point me in the right direction over the years. But if you’re reading, and you’ve had a terrible fatherly experience, I want to encourage you and tell you that God is the best and most perfect Father you can ever have. He’ll never leave you or forsake you, and His love is everlasting. Nothing can separate you from that. Nothing.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.