My dad is an amazing man and I’m not just saying that because Father’s Day is a few days away either.
I mean, the man has got more hobbies than people half his age (myself included). Within the past 5 years, he’s picked up new ones including Bee Keeping and Maple Syrup making. Add those to what he’s already been doing as long as I can remember: hunting, fishing, gardening, wood splitting…and just about anything and everything else.
In typical dad fashion, he’s done his very best to teach me everything he knows. Including how to filet a fish, kill a woodchuck, use a chainsaw and weed the garden. I haven’t always appreciated my “free lessons”, but I’ve learned, with time, to love them.
I still remember the night my dad needed my sister and me to help him hang a deer he got that day while hunting. My brother was unable to help him, so we suited up (in my dad’s camo overalls and hunting gear) and learned a new skill, while erupting into fits of laughter. The deer got hung, and no one ralphed– so I went ahead and added it to my list of skill sets.
He also taught me how to use a chainsaw and has lovingly nicknamed me Chainsaw #2 when we’re out working. This has been one of my favorite lessons so far because now I have lifetime bragging rights. I mean, a woman who is good looking AND knows how to use a chainsaw– what a catch!
There’s skills that I hadn’t been particularly happy about learning. Like the Saturdays he’d enlist us to weed his garden. But now, I’ll gladly spend a few hours pulling weeds for him. He usually pays me in veggies, which just so happens to be one of the perks of the job.
All this stuff is great, and I’m extremely grateful for the skills my dad has taught me, but there’s nothing like the lessons I’ve learned that go beyond a new talent.
The greatest lesson my dad has taught me is: love.
At the age of 13, I needed a home and he gave me one. Even more than I needed a roof over my head, I needed a dad.
You see, up until then, I had been living in a house that didn’t feel very safe or very loving. I lived with a lot of fear and anxiety and not a whole lot of positive male interaction, to say the least.
I’m grateful that God answered the nightly prayers of a broken little girl when she prayed: “Jesus, please save me from this” by using this man as rescuer.
It’s been 17 years since my dad chose to call me his daughter and that will always be one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me. As Christians, we talk a lot about how God IS love and all of that, but I think sometimes we forget that He shows us that love (much of the time) through other people. In my life, there is no one who has shown me more of that love than my dad. When he took me in, I was a wounded little girl. My heart a broken heap within my chest, and he loved me through all the pain.
He’s prayed me through every crisis, been a voice of wisdom in the midst of hard life decisions and he’s been there to share in my triumphs.
I’ve got many more lessons to learn from my dad, but am thankful for what I’ve learned: that river swings don’t have age limits, bonfires should always include s’mores, you “can’t hurt steel”….
You never know the impact that love will have or the life it will save.