At the age of 6, my parents divorced and I began visiting my dad on weekends and extended holidays. Though I didn’t see him as much as a child should see his father, I have fond memories of spending time together. Memories of being in the desert for his birthday (and many other times) riding motorcycles, burning Christmas trees and just laughing like crazy. Other memories include vacationing to the Grand Canyon and Lake Mead. We had a great time.
In the middle of high school, I moved in with my dad wanting to know more about him and experience life with him every day. I have fond memories then too. He worked with me to get my driver’s license and taught me to drive a boat as we were out in the ocean fishing.
But as the years passed and I started becoming an adult, the fond memories faded as the negative ones came front and center. I began to feel the hurt from years passed and they were strong. In 2001, I severed all ties with my dad and it stood that way for almost 10 years. They were years of complete silence on my end. I had hardened my heart so much that when he would call to talk, I would ignore all attempts. Thankfully, God began to lay on my heart the need to reconcile with my dad. God said that not only did I need to forgive for what I was angry for, but I had to ask for forgiveness for my wrong doing as well.
I thank God every single day for burdening my heart for that. I’ll never forget the day I walked into BJ’s Restaurant in Temecula, nervous as I had ever been in my life. I wasn’t expecting much, but when I saw my dad and the emotion on his face I knew that the restoration process had already begun. As we talked, we shared with each other that during the time apart we had both come to salvation in Jesus Christ. It was amazing.
It’s been about a year and a half since that day at BJ’s and our relationship is the best it has been in the 34 years I have been alive. I see things in my dad I never saw before. I remember all the great times we had from when I was just a little boy. If I died today, I know that God has already redeemed every single minute we were apart.
I am not good about sending cards and didn’t send my dad one for Father’s Day. Instead I choose to write this blog so everyone reading it would know what God did for me and my dad. And I write this as a gift to my dad so he could hear maybe for the first time ever how grateful I really am. For what you say? Here are a few reasons:
- For running up and down Walnut Street as I learned to ride my first bike without training wheels.
- For giving me opportunities to enjoy vacations I may never be able to provide for my kids
- For instilling in me a strong work ethic and a sense of pride in all I do
- For teaching me to fix things that are broken and improve things that need it
- For being the strongest dad a little kid could ever know
- For accepting every fault I ever had and still loving me the same
- For reaching out to help when my pride tried to stand in the way
- For giving me an excuse for being loud, for being outspoken and for getting into a new hobby every other week
- For waiting patiently when I wouldn’t give in
- For accepting Jesus Christ into your life so we will spend eternity together in heaven
- For loving me