Friday, July 18, 2008

Happy Birthday dad!

Today is the birthday of a great man, my dad. I thought I'd take a minute to let the world know a little more about him, because he's not the kind of guy to go around tooting his own horn. Here are just a few of the reasons I love my dad:

1. He's got a servant's heart
When I was just out of college and raising support to go into full time ministry, I remember one morning I couldn't find my dad. My mom said he'd gone up to church for something but she didn't know what. So I drove out there and found him in the basement, vacuuming. Our church janitor was in the hospital that week, so my dad decided he'd help out by spending his day off doing something no one would ever know he'd done. No one asked him to do it - he just saw a need and met it. I've gotta say I wish more of this heart had passed down to me, but I hold it in mind as an example to follow.

2. He's a teacher
Despite spending more than 30 years as a pharmacist, it's in my dad's nature to teach (maybe that's why he was so good at training other people). When I was 13 and about to fly to England to visit a friend, my dad pulled out the globe and used a piece of string to show me how it was actually faster to fly over the top of the world than straight across. He's taught my son how to grow tomatoes, and given him a love for doing it at the same time. Whenever he has the opportunity, he responds to teaching moments.

3. He's generous
I have to admit, I'm a bit spoiled. My dad came from humble beginnings, and I think he wanted to make sure his family had what he didn't. But I'm not just talking about material things - I'm talking about time and experience too. My dad's just one to give himself away to others, and I've reaped the benefits. This is something I'm focusing on in my life right now, so that I can carry on this legacy (seems to run in my mom's side of the family too!)

4. He's wise
Despite being generous with us, my dad knew when to say no too. In a country full of debt, he's one man making wise choices about how he spends his money and time. I think it's partly because my dad does a lot more thinking than he does talking, so what comes out of his mouth and what he does in his actions don't come from passing whims. More times than not, I wish I'd taken my dad's advice. Like the time he told me not to come home for the weekend from college because there was a big storm coming. I went home anyway, and nearly got stranded in a ditch with four other fools. And yet, when we got home 2 hours later than it should have taken us, my parents had ordered pizza. No, "I told you so," just pizza. That's grace for you.

5. He's hard working
You just have to look at my dad's garden to know that this man has a strong work ethic. You don't get results like that without careful planning, days of bending over weeds, lots of trips to the nursery, and constant diligence. I suppose you can't grow up on a farm and not have a strong work ethic, but he's never lost it. This is one thing I have inherited from him I believe. Thanks dad!

6. He's humble
Several years ago, when my dad was working in drug compounding at the Mayo Clinic, there was a young girl who got a fungus in her lungs, and it was killing her. This doctor came to my dad and asked if he could figure out a way to get an antifungus drug into her. So my dad turned around and made one into something she could inhale, and it saved her life. (I may have some of the details of this story wrong, and I know that if I exaggerated any part my dad would be sure to correct it). Recently this doctor got credit for it. The rest of our family was up in arms, but he just shrugged. Now, I still think he should go back and say something, but that's my dad. He's accomplished amazing things, but he'll never be the one to tell people. That's why he has me, his overly talkative daughter.

Well, I could go on, but MY daughter is asking for the computer. Dad, happy birthday! Wish I could be there.

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