My Dad

Today is my dad’s birthday.  If you happen to be friends with him on Facebook, hop on over and wish him a happy birthday.  Or leave him a comment on his blog.  I introduced him here on my blog this summer, when he shared a guest post about God In The Spaces.  As I stated in the introduction to his post, I owe so much of who I am including my writing to him.  He’s been writing for as long as I know, and I suspect he was probably writing as soon as he could hold a pen or a pencil – I’ll have to ask my grandma.

At any rate, I wanted to post today to reflect on some memories I have of my dad.  I think it’s important to reflect on these things from time to time.  So here are my thoughts:

1.  My dad is one of the smartest people I know.  Seriously, he has read so much, and he retains what he reads.  My friends at our church growing up used to refer to him as Cliff Claven (from Cheers), because dad was always sharing some little known fact about something.  I know my family (especially my brothers) joke around about this, but I think it’s more out of envy and appreciation than anything else.

2.  My dad is a lot stronger than most people realize.  He used to workout bench pressing more than 300 pounds.  His hobby in college was cliff climbing.  I smile as I remember the time that he lifted one of our youth group teenagers off the ground when this teen tried to sneak up on my dad from behind.  That kid never messed with my dad again.  And the rest of the youth group talked about “Norm’s strength” for years.

3.  My dad isn’t perfect.  Despite being a pastor and very close to God (that’s another thing I’ll share in a few seconds), my dad is human.  I chuckle as I think about the holes in doors and walls that he created himself as he chased one of my brothers down the hall or banged his head in frustration.  I also think about the game of National Geographic Global Pursuit that ended when my brother, my grandpa, and my dad show-off the family stubbornness in questioning a move.  I’m not sure we ever played that game afterwards.

4.  My dad is intentional.  I especially think of all the times when dad stops us in our tracks to make sure we understand what’s going on in a particular moment or situation.  He says, “I want to stop and remember this moment, this milestone.  This is important.”  He does this whenever we are together.  When my brother, Erik, graduated from college, I can remember him stopping to celebrate and to thank God for this milestone.  When my family got together to celebrate my grandparents anniversary, I remember him stopping to make sure we captured the moment that we were all together for one last time.  On mission trips and youth retreats as a teenager, I remember dad gathering us together at the end of the week or weekend to reflect on what God just did through the trip or retreat.   In some ways, this is one of the main reasons I blog.  I want to create a record of the things in my life; I don’t want to forget how God has worked through the ups and downs of my daily life.

5.  My dad is very close to God.  As I mentioned earlier, my dad takes his relationship with God very seriously.  I admire my dad’s dedication, commitment, and example.  He spends time regularly praying, meditating, memorizing, and thinking about God.  I’m convinced that his number one passion is to follow Jesus and to be close to Him.  This pours from everything my dad does and says.

I’m sure I could go on, but I’ll stop for now.  I just wanted to reflect and share about my dad today as he celebrates his birthday.

Dad, thanks for being such a great example to me and others.  Thanks for being you!  Happy Birthday!  I love you!

How do you remember your parents?  For those of you who know my dad, feel free to comment with your own thought or memory of him.