Friday, June 27, 2014

"I Loved Her First"

"The hands of a king are the hands of a healer, and by this shall the rightful king be known."  (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King).  

I forgot Father’s Day this year.  In the midst of vacationing, photo snapping, and several badly pronounced “bonjours,” the holiday crept up softly and drifted quickly on by without so much as a murmur.  

You might be thinking that this is really no great error.  After all, the greeting card aisle half-heartedly offers beer and barbecue sentiments on this subject for what seems only a day or two, before rapidly preparing for the next holiday, likely Halloween *sigh*.  Father’s Day often feels like one of those holidays that’s not really a holiday, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, for example. 

But when I consider Fathers, when I remember Dads, I can’t help but feel that this day might deserve a second look. I see the broken families bleeding, and it comes to me that this is wrong.  A father is of far greater value than the poor and flimsy outline that the world often shows us.  

It would take pages and pages to detail the blessings a loving father has bestowed upon my life.  For it is a treasure so seldom to be found in this the land we live in.  The loss of the father, the absence of dad, has torn gaping rents in hearts, families, and the world itself.  It is an ugly wound, dissonance of the Fall, and it is because of these hurts that the role of the father has become ever so much more powerful.  It is a desperately needed strength that can match the evil and help to mend the tears. 

I cannot speak to all the fathers, and it would take much more ink to truly detail all a daddy does.  But I can thank the Lord for the blessing of my own, knowing the invaluable gift of his presence in my life both then and now, because “love woke me up this morning—with a memory” (Bethany Dillon).  

To:  Dad
I remember pink minigolf balls and chicken tenders from Red Robin
I remember movie popcorn, Toy Story, and the Wizard of Oz. 
I remember straining to see the white tents of Denver International Airport when you came home from a business trip
I remember stuffed toys and Invesco foam footballs at the end of your work day
I remember horse rides and bunny holes—tickling and wrestling 
I remember butterfly and Eskimo kisses at bedtime
I remember flannel shirts and sawdust and calloused hands. 
I remember snoopy fishing rods and rainbow trout 
I remember the huge rocking horse you made for me
I remember science fairs, school crafts, and the best birthday parties 
I remember slurpees and funions from 7-11 and shock tarts from the candy store
I remember Frodo and Sam, Jamie and Awasin, Hazel and Fiver. 
I remember bedtime dreaming, making castles in the air, when the night shadows prowled at the edge of my bed
I remember tire swings and treehouses, playing at Robin Hood while watching you work
I remember snow forts and Muppet movies and summer baseball games

I thank you for kissing mom, talking with her on the couch, and buying her beautiful presents at Christmas time
Thank you for telling me stories
Thank you for being my first Valentine
Thank you for teaching me to dream
Thank you for showing me how to hook my own worm, shoot a gun, and throw a spiral
Thank you for loving Kiersten and being Dad to Josh
Thank you for telling me that you loved me
Thank you for calling me beautiful 
Thank you for delighting in me
Thank you for supporting and encouraging me, for never laughing at my ideas
Thank you for being around
Thank you for serving us and loving us
Thank you for bending your knee to God
Thank you for walking me down the aisle and giving me away
And thank you for loving my husband

You’ll always be my daddy, and I know I don’t tell you nearly enough how much you mean to me and how thankful I am to be your little girl.  Happy Belated Father’s Day to the man who loved me first. 



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