My Kind of Man

He was a man of few words.  Until he spoke.  He gave good solid advice.  He made sound decisions.  He spoke with authority.

He was a man among men.  He was a leader.  Oh.  He didn’t seek out leadership positions.  They sought him.  Whether it was the school board.  The church board.  The farm association board.  He always ended up being the leader.  He never said if he was comfortable in that position.  But somehow those positions always found him.  And he led well.  He was respected and loved.

My dad loved to tease people.  He would honk the horn at pretty women.  Flirt with them.  Joke with others.  He had a nickname for most people.

He laughed when a prank caller insisted he was cheating on my mom.  My mom didn’t laugh.  He wasn’t cheating and they both knew it.  He loved my mom with a fierce love.  He was protective and watchful over her.  To her dying day.

Daddy loved pears and hated iced tea.  He always wanted a watermelon with candles for his birthday in July.  Birthday cake was not good enough for this man.

I think back to my childhood years when life was carefree for me.  They were years of hard work for him.   I can picture him in his v-neck t-shirt, worn thin from years of wear.  I can see him leaning against the kitchen door frame.  Head thrown back in a hearty laugh.  Oh.  I can still hear that laugh.


The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.  Proverbs 16:9


After sitting on a hot, noisy tractor all day, my dad liked to walk into a quiet house.  Piano practice had to be over.  The radio turned off.  No noise.  Just peace and quiet.  That’s what he liked after a noise filled day.

Daddy loved his work. He’s the first man I ever knew who loved his job. Oh. It wasn’t a job. It was a lifestyle. It was hard work with few rewards and great sacrifice. It was farming. And it ran in his blood.

His heart attack forced retirement on him in his early 70’s. He never really bounced back from the open heart surgery. It made an old man out of him.

Every night before we went to bed, he would call us kids into the living room.  He would pull out the Bible story book and open it.  There we would sit and listen as he read a story to us.  We read through that book many times over the years, with those stories engrained in our memory.  Then we would kneel and pray as a family.  Each night.  Those prayers are engrained in my heart.

Oh.  He wasn’t a perfect man.  But he was the wisest, smartest and noblest man a girl could ever choose for a father.  No.  He didn’t play ball with us or take us out to eat.  But he taught us a solid work ethic.  He taught us to share what we had with others.  He led by example.

I love the kind of man my dad was.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but I chose a husband made from the same cloth.  One who loves God.  Loves his work.  Has a great sense of humor.  Makes solid decisions.  A leader.  An influencer.  Well respected.  Someone I wholeheartedly trust.  That’s my kind of man.

 

So Close to Eternity

Today on Father’s Day, I think of two men.  Two men who never knew each other.    Different values.  Different lifestyles.  Different beliefs.  Different worlds.  They both were fathers.  That appears to be their only common ground.  I don’t know why the first man even comes to mind.  But he does.

I remember when Saddam Hussein was killed.  Some witnesses videotaped his death.  His hanging.  I saw parts of the video on the news.  It was graphic.  It was disturbing.  It was unsettling.  He died.  People wanted confirmation that he was gone.  There it was.  Ugly and haunting.

He seemed so calm in the last moments of his life.  He wasn’t fighting his captors.  He was as a lamb being led to the slaughter.  Quiet.  Reserved.  Defeated.

I wonder if he had been drugged.  I wonder what he was thinking.  When they opened his cell door for the last time, did he know he was going to his death?  Did he know that in just a few short minutes he would be in eternity?  A never-ending place where he would reap the rewards or punishment for his life on earth.  Did he know?  Was he ready to meet his Maker?

If he knew, what was he thinking?  Did he try to make peace with God?  Did he ask forgiveness for the atrocities he had committed?  Did he shake his fist at God and curse him?  Did he believe in God? What were his final thoughts?

It isn’t mine to know.  It isn’t mine to judge.

The Lord knows the thoughts of man.  Psalm 94:11

I remember another man’s death.  I wasn’t with my dad when he breathed his last breath, but my sisters were there.  He had been on hospice for 3 months.  During those final months and days, my dad exhibited peace and contentment.  He knew he was dying.  He knew he was going to heaven.

Some days he would want to hold your hand and tell you that he loved you over and over.  Other days, tears would roll down his face.  At times, he would look up to the corner of the room with a far-off look.  He was seeing a place he had only read and heard about.  Heaven.  He would sometimes see people.  Others who had gone before him.  He would call them by name.

He had said he was waiting for my  mom.  He never wanted her to be alone.  He waited for her.  In those final three months of his life, he portrayed a sacrificial love for the woman he had pledged his life to 60 years earlier.  He kept his vow.  Till death us do part.

His heart was weak.  His body was frail.  His voice was soft.

His love was strong.  His faith was sure.  His eternity was secure.

During his final days, he would reach with outstretched hand to heaven.  Trying to touch it.  Wanting to enter those pearly gates.  As the end drew near, he would lie there with his eyes closed.  No longer speaking.  Not in this world.  Not in the next.  Hovering between two worlds with a smile on his face.  He was seeing heaven.

He had made peace with his life.  He had waited for his beloved to go before him.  He was ready to meet his Maker.

His last words.  So close.  So close.