I searched my notes for ideas about Father’s Day. I have many, and I chose this to share with you. I wrote this article while my father was alive. It was for him and others to know my feelings when I was in my mid-thirties. My dad died decades later. At his funeral, I went around visiting with our family. When I came to my father’s siblings, I asked each one this question: “Do you ever remember if Dad ever confessed Christ as his Savior?” They all had the same answer: “No.” None recalled him accepting Jesus.
Here is my article:
When I was five, a great, mighty, awesome, dark river surged swiftly onward not far from the front door of my house.
When I was ten, my river, similar to a magic pumpkin, had changed into babbling brook interspersed with stones large enough for running, flying leaps, and splashing wet landings.
When I was fifteen, I was surprised to find my brook to be a very tiny placid stream; hardly a ripple disturbed its hushed meandering. Its bank was the perfect, peaceful place to sit and dream my dreams.
One of these days I hope to have a young child by my side. We will walk hand in hand down a well-worn path. I am eager to show him his own mighty rushing river.
Oh, how I love Dad! There was a time when I could not say that honestly. Because of Jesus – through His Grace and Mercy, I have grown spiritually through faith. In that, I can honestly and sincerely say I love my father very much.
Dad taught me some crucial things about life. They were hard to see when I was growing up. Now, as I look back, these lessons shine ever so brightly like newly minted coins to treasure! I wonder how I missed them at the time. He taught me:
I should always be a man of my word. If Dad said he was going to do something, he definitely did it.
It is crucial to be considerate of other people no matter who they are.
Most of our family love to laugh, tease and kid. We will travel to great lengths to play a joke or pull someone’s leg. Even during serious times, you’ll find one of us laughing so hard that tears will be running down our face.
Loving and enjoying life is of the utmost importance, along with accepting those things cannot be changed with a smile on my lips, a warm glow in my heart, and my head held high.
Thank you, Dad, for loving and caring for me even when I was so ungrateful and detached in my late teenage and early adult years.
I’m so thankful you have forgiven me for my insensitivity toward you during that time.
May God watch over, protect and guide you, and continue to make Jesus real to you for the rest of your life. May you and all the other Dads in the world have a happy Father’s Day with your families! I love you, Daddy!
–Your eldest and loving son
Dad died just short of 90 years old. None of Dad’s siblings – whom I can only assume that they knew him best – could remember Dad confessing Christ as his Savior. This caused my heart and mind to wander. There were so many times over those decades when I shared my faith in Christ Jesus with Dad. He always rejected me. He wasn’t mean or hateful. He just dismissed my endeavors to plant the seeds of faith in his life. Ninety years of rejecting the Grace of God and His Mercy!
At one time this was heartbreaking. Only through faith have I come to believe that nothing is outside the grasp of the Creator. I don’t know Dad’s final thoughts as he left this life. He may have called to Christ like the thief at Golgotha. I can hope and believe so.
For as Our Father will never turn His back on us, we should always listen to our children – even if we don’t agree with them. Children, you must share your wishes and desires for clarity from your parents. Fathers, you must direct your children in the path you want them to go. Just as the mighty river of a child may become the gentle stream of an adult, hindsight is often 20/20.
–John T. Catrett, III serves as a Chaplain with ONHL Hospice. ONHL Hospice currently provides services to the majority of Northeastern Oklahoma but is available to accept patients statewide. Learn more at http://onhlhospice.com.