What lessons have I learned from my father? That is what I have been thinking about recently. You see, last week, my grandfather went home to heaven. My heart is sad, but I know he is filled with joy. When someone leaves this Earth, we all like to reflect on what the person meant to us and think about the memories with that person. My father had the honor of writing and sharing a eulogy about his life and legacy.
Sometimes, when I hear all these amazing things about a person at their funeral, I wonder did they know the impact they made on others’ lives while they were living? Why do we wait? Often we don’t express and tell someone what they truly mean to us or the impact they have on our life.
As I listened to my dad prepare to eulogize my grandfather, it made me reflect on all my father has taught me. My Dad taught me and my brother so much but a few of the lessons learned are; put God first always, love unconditionally, be a person of integrity and wisdom, share your faith at every opportunity, be a person of wisdom and he is fun
Dad taught me to put God first.
As his dad, Grandpa Lou, would say “make God number one and you will be ok.” On my dad’s nightstand sits a duct taped Bible. That well-read and studied Bible helps guide his life, his words, and his actions. Psalm 119: 105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Dad taught me how to love unconditionally.
He is a loving husband and takes such beautiful care of my mother (this would turn into a novel if I added all the stories about my selfless, gorgeous mom, stay tuned for the sequel!). Their relationship is full of hilarious stories, mutual respect, and being there for one another through life’s ups and downs. Dad loved coaching my brother’s baseball teams. He threw the coolest birthday parties in his deli/ice cream shop, and he planned a trip to the beach each summer.
Quality time as a family is something I’ll always cherish and love making a priority with my family today. My brother’s friends knew Dad as Coach Rick and mine like to call him JD…Jen’s Dad. My parents always made our home welcoming to our friends and often my friends would go to my dad for advice, that is who he is. One of my friends got a motorcycle and came to my house, not to show me, but to show my dad!
Dad taught me how to live with integrity.
When faced with adversity, hard times, and challenging people, my dad always prays first. When he messes up, he admits it and cleans up the mess. He is a humble man that lives his life with integrity. “The righteous who walks in his integrity — blessed are his children after him!” Proverbs 20:7. His actions speak louder than his words. His work ethic is one to be admired and he learned that from his father. Dad is full of wisdom. When I need solid wisdom, my dad is my first call.
Dad taught me to share my faith at every opportunity.
My dad is the kind of guy who talks to everyone…everyone! One of his favorite topics of conversation lately is letting people know about “The Chosen” that is all about Jesus and His disciples. He might let you know to “stir up the water,” “get used to different,” and let you know “I was one way, now I’m completely different, and the thing in between was Him.”
During the pandemic, we were driving through the city and he saw a homeless man. He gave the man money, talked to him, blessed him, and held the man’s hand. During a time when everyone was fearful of their neighbor, my dad made a man who others didn’t see feel Christ. Jesus saw this man and loves him, He was known to not only talk with everyone, but also touch those who were actual untouchables, like lepers (Mark 1: 40-45). And when you model your life after the one called Love, it leaves a lasting impact on those around you.
Dad is fun!
His favorite name these days is Papa and his grandsons adore him. He loves playing with them. Sports, snowball fights. Being pushed in the water, sprayed by the hose, and of course he always tells the boys about Jesus. He is carrying on traditions with the boys, like beach trips to our favorite spot in Cape Cod, the occasional ice cream for dinner, and listening to their stories.
He’s leaving a beautiful legacy to his children and grandchildren; full of love and modeling how to live a Godly life. He’s also known to bust a move and sing random rap songs. My friends call it hilarious. But I call it embarrassing. Rap Daddy Arthur makes appearances at weddings, with friends, even at work. Oh my. And, Dad even sent me a text before the Halftime show, “Don’t forget about Dre…” Bless it!
God, our Father, Promises To Be…
God is referred to as Abba, meaning Father. And He wants us to come to Him with our troubles, failures, triumphs, fears, and gratitude. My earthly father is a beautiful example of what it means to be a loving father. And, I look at my father and feel and know so much love, respect and adore him. He is amazing, but that doesn’t even compare to how awesome our heavenly Father is.
To those reading this and have had hard relationships with your earthly fathers, God is all we need. He promises to be our Good Shepherd (John 10:11). Our good, good Father (Psalm 23:1). Deliverer (2 Samuel 2:22). Provider (Genesis 22:14). Healer (Exodus 15:26). The God who sees us (Genesis 16:13), God with us (Matthew 1:23), and God who saves us (John 3:16).
His life verse and the one he likes to share with everyone is John 14:6, ““I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” And, this truth is what he wants everyone to know and to believe. The man who’s never met a stranger wants everyone to have a relationship with Christ and know Him as savior.
So, thank you Dad for all of your wisdom, knowledge, and unconditional love. I too hope to share this truth and show love to everyone I meet. I love you Dad.
Now it is your turn.
Who do you need to let know how much they mean to you? Words of encouragement are good for the heart.
I’ll leave you with my Dad’s favorite blessing that he shares with everyone:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6: 24-26