There are a lot of emotions tied up in this day. I know I have friends who feel nothing but pain today for the wonderful fathers they have lost. I know I have friends today who feel anger today for the wonderful fathers they never had. I know there will be many posts on social media today about "World's Best Dad," and "I have the best dad ever," but today, I wanted to share a few words about the emotions I have tied to this day.
Gratitude. Pride. Honor. Respect. Joy. Love.
Gratitude. Once upon a time, there was a little girl with wide eyes and a big imagination that was encouraged to grow, and learn, and explore, and be exactly who she was. Her dad taught her how to ride and repair her bike, climb a tree, play baseball, and to never stop asking questions. He read to her at night great stories about great people. But the best stories were the ones he made up about the Adventures of Enzio and his Magical Cat Oblio. In the lazy summer evenings, he played guitar and taught her and her sister to embrace music, and making their own music. They went on adventures together in the marshes and discovered the wonders of nature and nature's God.
Pride. As the girl grew older, she realized that she wasn't the only one who thought her dad was pretty great. "Are you John Bologna's little girl?" And the response was always, "Yes I am!"
Honor. Growing up, she saw the way he led by example, the way he had a standard for excellence, not just for those around him, but for himself as well. He worked hard to provide for his family, and chose their comfort over his own.
Respect. With the passage of time, mistakes are bound to happen, and life wasn't always perfect. In moments of disobedience, bad attitudes, and temper tantrums, all she needed was to get "The Look" from her father to know that whatever she was doing needed to stop. Yet, for each of those moments, there were even more moments of praise for a job well-done, quick forgiveness, and so much patience.
Joy. Even as an adult, she still finds joy in dragon fly wings, the roar of the ocean's surf, watching green things grow, the mystery of the stars, the industriousness of ants, and figuring out how things work. There were countless nights of star-gazing at Nauset Beach, watching the Perseid's and creating names for the different types of shooting stars: the Sparkler, the Fizz, the Fizzer, the Streaker, the Blip, and the ever-elusive Fourth of July.
There are memories of the one summer when every day after returning home for work, the two of them would grab towels and bathing-suits and rush to Chatham Light Beach to dive into the chilly waters of the Atlantic, washing away the heat and sweat and work from the day. And then they would sit and talk, and sometimes grab an ice cream, and sometimes not, but it was always good.
And how many times did they wake up at 4:00....3:00....2:00 in the morning to adventure to the beach to watch some astronomical event, only to be followed by a sunrise and breakfast at Larry's PX.
Bike rides, canoe outings, road trips, hiking explorations. The Joy of Adventure all.
Love. They say that a life without Love is not worth living. Love has no limit; when love is given, it doesn't decrease, it multiplies. And so it is with a Father's Love. There is no limit. And within that boundless, endless, unconditional love, there is comfort, safety, and rest.
I know there are plenty of other father's in the world that are just as patient, just as wise, and just as loving. Perhaps they are even more so than mine. And I know my dad is not perfect...I know he's made mistakes. But, the thing about him that I will always admire is that he is so full of grace. Like his mother before him, there is a gentle intensity about him that is all-at-once inspiring and comforting. As I've grown older, I have come to rely on and seek out his counsel more and more. There have been times when I have leaned my burdened heart heavily against his, and it has never faltered.
I recently won an award, and during my few words in acceptance of it, I called my father out as my number one fan and greatest role model. I would not be the person I am today without his support. Through all the trials of my life - the lessons learned, the tears shed, the struggle and the mourning, he has been my rock, and always shows me who the true Rock is. His Source of strength is mine as well, and I can embrace the true Father Heart of God because of the example set out by my earthly Father.
Yes, I have many memories of joy and laughter, but it has been in the darkest night of the soul where the truth of his love has been a balm.
So, on this day....this day that hold so many different emotions for so many different people, I want to say Happy Father's Day to my #1 Best Dad in the World. Thank you for following in the footsteps of God, so I could follow in yours.