Dad, A Tribute

Posted: September 22, 2020 in Uncategorized

“My Father didn’t tell me how to live: he lived, and let me watch him do it.”

Clarence Budington Kelland

“I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to me. When he does wrong, I’ll discipline him in the usual ways, the pitfalls and obstacles of this mortal life. But I’ll never remove my gracious love from him.”

2 Samuel 7:14-15

Nobody worked harder than my dad, nobody. And nobody loved his kids more than my father. Dad just turned 87, his lithe frame now bent and broken. His strong right hand betrays the abuse rendered by hard work. The base knuckle of his index finger swells to the size of a golf ball, his hand twists to accommodate it. A scarred nub of a half thumb reminds all of a bad night working graveyard shift at Samsonite luggage. Tremors flutter his hand, sipping soup is now an adventure. Dad takes it all in stride. He is the last of four brothers this side of heaven. Death is no secret, it soon comes for Dad. So he lives, he breathes in what life now offers. That’s my father.

I speak not of death but rather of the life we shared, the unique legacy of father and son. I debuted when my parents were young, Dad 21, Mom 19. In a very real way, we grew up together. I remember Dad in college, student teaching, his first teaching position. Dad stood straight, lean and strong. To me, Dad was the smartest best looking dad in the world.

Life isn’t perfect and neither is Dad. Marriage never came easy for my parents. Their book on marriage would be titled. “What Not To Do And Still Be Married”. Dad’s temper ran hot and his moods wandered. But life isn’t primarily about what we didn’t do right but rather it is about what we did do right. Dad loved me and that far outweighed the shortcomings.

Family means the world to Dad. He loves his flesh and blood. Perhaps more importantly, he loved his wife’s family. I grew up with the Shevelands. God nurtured me in the shadow of my grandparents, their picture graces my bed stand for a reason. Aunts, uncles, cousins: they all played vital roles in my life. My father never changed. Today he frets over his children, his grandchildren. Each individual owns a piece of his heart.

Church was never an option. Good times, bad times: it made no difference, the Browns were there. Perhaps life didn’t make perfect sense at home, but life made perfect sense at church. I knew what godly folk looked like, talked like, felt like. None were perfect, nobody pretended to be. Their testimonies covered the same theme, blessed redemption, sinners saved by grace. These imperfect loving individuals pointed me to Christ. Why do all five siblings serve Jesus Christ today? Two parents honored church and family.

Lynn and I now live with my parents until we move into our new home. I treasure each day, each meal with them. As a man and a son, I hang on each conversation I have with Dad. I love him with a whole heart, an easy thing to do. We shared life, nearly seven decades, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Nothing can threaten the tie that binds us together. God blessed me with a good dad, a faithful dad. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Dad.

“And I hope my son sees in me the kind of man that he was to Me.”

Shannon Noll

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