Some say the most significant life-change in a woman happens when she has her first child. Some say the most significant life-change in a man happens when his father dies.
Last week marked the twenty-seventh year since my Dad died. I was the youngest of six and considered by my siblings to be the boy with the coat of many colors. Odd that they saw it that way; I never felt like I was special. However, I’ve often told my older five siblings that Mom and Dad were nicer to me because they had given up after raising them. That, and our parents saved the best for last.
For the first twenty-one years of my life, I was not close to my Dad. His blue-collar job in the oilfield put food on our table, but Dad’s real love was the little country church he pastored. My Dad never had an official education, but was a brilliant man who consumed voluminous books on theology and history like they were novels.
Most of what I learned from him was from listening to him preach. We never had a sit-down-and-let’s-talk-about-this-son kind of relationship, but three times a week I listened to my Dad’s thoughts on life while my feet dangled over the edge of a creaky old wooden pew in a small country church.
At twenty-one, I discovered Dad to be a lot nicer than I remembered. For the remaining five years of his life, we grew much closer.
However, for as close as we were, there were still things we never talked about that I wished I would have. If I could have Dad back for a bit, there is one thing I’d ask him about:
What did you like about me? I knew you loved me, but I often wondered what you liked about me.
I can only guess what my Dad liked about me; he showed me but never told me. I like words; I’d like to have heard them.
Even though I can’t ask him, I can tell my kids what I like about them. I don’t want them to have to guess.
Excuse me; I have a few letters to write.