Sunday, June 19, 2016

What Would Dad Do?

 Now I love my mom and for countless reasons, including her ceaseless positive energy.  She has had plenty of health issues lately but you sure wouldn’t know it to talk to her.  No matter what is going on with her she radiates with a happy positive disposition and I love that about her.  She has unconditional love for, not just me, but her family, all of us.  She has such a contagious laugh and smile.  If the reasons I love her aren’t testament enough to how wonderful she is, I know I have the best mom because all my friends get excited when they learn they are going to get to visit with her or see her soon.  Or when others are always asking me how she is doing.  My mom, MamaG, is the kind of woman who makes people feel so loved and accepted.  She includes everyone and can turn life into a party.  Her glass is always half full, her home is always open. She is a legend in her hometown.  You would be blessed to meet her. I love my momma.  I hope I grow up to be as generous with my life and spirit as she is with hers.

I mention this because I can’t talk about my dad without talking about her.  They go together.  Like salt and pepper.  You can’t even think of one without thinking of the other. 
And likewise, you can’t talk about Gaylon and Ginger without mentioning us 3 kids, Ricky (yours truly), Gina and Andy.
Our family is what we are due to my dad.  He set the atmosphere. He set the tone.  He provided the guidance.  He was the teacher.  He molded us.  All of us can say we are what we are because of him.

In the scriptures we read of a character that was described as “a man after God’s own heart.”  That is my dad.  He loves everyone.  He forgives everyone, always.  He is kind.  He is generous.  He cares, about you and your life. He loves God and knows God’s word. He always has the wise prescription for the situation.

I know he is not perfect.  If I dug deep enough I might find a flaw.  No one is perfect.  But when I was younger I would see these signs and tshirts, “What would Jesus do?”   But I always had a great example to follow right there in my immediate family.  All I had to do was ask, “What Would Dad Do?”

If I was mad at someone, I was taught to not hold a grudge.  When I was busy, I learned to put others first. When things would get hectic, I learned to stay calm. I learned how to take care of things.  I learned to take care of my car, to mow the grass, and keep a tidy house. But from these simple things I learned the bigger things, like taking care of my family.  He always did. He kept a pulse on everyone and what was going on with them.  Every-time, without fail, when something “big” happened with me, he was there, either to celebrate, console, advise or whatever the occasion called for.

But it wasn’t just his family he took care of.  He is the most respected man I know.  I said my mom was a legend in her hometown.  So is he.  He has helped more people than anyone.  If you were in the hospital, he visited you.  If you were down he was there to lift you up.  If you had a big win of some sort in life, no one was happier for you. He came into your life, not heavy handed, but in a gentle calming manner that would put you at ease.  That is the kind of person I have hoped to be.  Whenever I had a decision to make all I ever had to ask myself was, “What Would Dad Do?”  Everyday I live, I thank God for him and my mom. I know my brother and sister will give a big Amen to that.  And the in-laws. And the grandchildren.  And everyone who has known them and been loved by them. Happy Father’s Day dad. You have all of our respect, the old fashioned way, you have earned it.

 You may have heard me comment before about my blessed life.  I recognize it.  I constantly give thanks for it.  God watches over me like I am his prized possession.  He protects me. He provides for me. Many times it has been so amazing I can only drop to my knees in humble gratitude and praise when God moves people and situations such that I become the beneficiary.  The greatest example of this, and there are so many I could write a book, is this man I have been speaking of.  My biological dad died early in life.  He died the same year I was born. He died in April and I was born in August.  My dad, Papa G to many, Gaylon to most, dad to me, came along 2 years later and married my mom.  In the beginning it was just me and mom, against the world. It wasn’t easy (that is another story) but she somehow managed. She could have married anyone. Or no one.  But I see God’s hand all over this. He had the man for the job.  Hand picked by God, to be my dad. He married my mom. He raised me.  He loved me unconditionally.  And still does. He taught me his profession, and he was and still is the very best preacher alive.  People often comment about my gift with words, but it is all because of him.  He taught me public speaking, writing, all of it.  I am nothing without him.  God knew the kind of man he was.  And God wanted me to be raised by that man. God wanted me to do something, or be something for someone and he wanted to prepare me by having me raised by “a man after his own heart.”  I have listened.  I have learned all that I could. I am ready for whatever life throws at me.  And whatever is still to come, I know I will only have to ask one question, “What Would Dad Do?”

Thankfully he is still here and all I have to do today is pick up the phone or make a short drive into East Texas. God has blessed him with a long life.  No one is the beneficiary of that more than me.  Unless it is  maybe my mom, my brother and my sister. And the in-laws and grandchildren. We all have been blessed.  Truly blessed. I know he has touched the lives of so many, but none more than me.  Again, Happy Father’s Day to best dad ever.  I love you dad.