Written by: Ms. O Just recently I spent the day on the road…destination: Portland, Texas…north of Corpus Christi…to spend the day with my dad…for his 84th birthday.
I have not been with my dad for many of his birthdays since I left home at 18. Not on purpose….it just happened…over the years. But things changed… a year ago last April…when my dad had his stroke. I became more intentional about how I spend my time….but this time was tough…
Over the years I don’t think I ever really “looked” at my dad. Sure I “saw him”…but I never really LOOKED at him. What I knew of him was passing knowledge…as in two ships passing in the night. Neither of us did it on purpose…it was the hand life dealt.
For as long as I can remember, my dad worked. When I was little he would come home from working at DuPont, eat dinner and then head to the gas station to work into the evening hours. Most weekends he would work there also. I did not think about it growing up…it was a fact of life for him…part of having a wife and five kids. I did not think about it…I was the typical self-centered kid.
Over the years I did not think about what my dad did in his spare time. I knew he would take us for drives….inexpensive vacations…history lessons at key locations. I don’t know if he enjoyed it or not…in my heart I hope he did…but for the life of me I never looked at him long enough to notice.
My dad was always the ultimate “fixer”. If it broke…a repairman was not called in…it was dad. It did not occur to me that home repair was probably the last thing he wanted to do after working…two jobs…but it had to get done. He was the go to guy. I never thought of asking if I could help him…even sit with him while he tinkered with whatever was broken…I just did not see the toiling going on…I just did not see….him.
The day I got married I was a little preoccupied…with leaving. My life was changing…I was packed up…pots, pans and dreams of a future…ready to be an adult…boy did I learn a lot in those first few years. I never thought of looking over my shoulder as I left Portland at 18…to look at my parents…my dad…one more time…before we drove off. My life was in full motion…away from South Texas…as quickly as I could be driven.
As my daughter and I were leaving Portland after a full day of gifts, lunch, cake and celebration, I happen to glance at the front door of my parent’s home. We backed the car up, I saw my dad standing at the door…waving goodbye….and my heart melted. I rolled down the window to make sure he could see me waving back….to make sure he knew I saw him. I noticed the man whose life has changed dramatically over the last year and a half…who has had to learn to accept his limitations…live within his capabilities….and I felt tears well up in my eyes. I silently sent up my thanksgiving to God…for “moving me” into my Dad’s direction…for opening my eyes…not to what I want…my ideals…my vision…but instead to the man who stood at that door…happy that Mandy and I came to visit.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
A snatch of time…so well placed…something that had to be shown to me by my Father in Heaven…so that I could appreciate my dad here on Earth. A man that I had seen so many times over years…but it took God to show me what I had never seen before. You have shown me Lord what is eternal. Let me never forget to not simply glance Lord…but to stop long enough to see…through Your eyes….because You see things I never will without you.
Happy Birthday Dad…