Dad lived with us for almost two years before he went to live with Jesus. Today, I'd like to share my tribute about him that I shared at his funeral last year:
"For my tenth birthday, I was given the most memorable gift from my parents. My mother stitched a needlework "field of flowers" and my dad built a frame for it to grace the wall above my piano. The piece hangs today in my dining room and is a reminder of the beautiful framework my parents gave me, and today, in particular, I want to honor my dad for the framework he provided for me.
Much like the frame he built to showcase my mother's artistry, the frame he built was:
My dad framed many good memories for me and I'd like to present a few of the portraits that I hold dear of him:
Good Beginning - my frame had a great start! My dad picked my mom, who was a jewel, and the two of them worked in tandem. Her artistry, creativity, love for words, her enjoyment of celebrations, appreciation of God's Word and living it out with vibrancy were all a solid foundation for me. When my parents were expecting me, and they were very close to my due date, my mother called my dad at work to see how long it would take him to get to the phone to come get her to go to the hospital (and he had to climb a gazillion stairs to get to the phone - he was working on building a college dormitory at the time) he never once got upset with her and would just smile when she told the story.
Good Pleasure - This is a Greek word that means what seems good or beneficial to someone. My dad enjoyed and introduced me to:
Cars - Thunderbird's and Chevelle's
Family Vacations - family was important to both my parents and we made many trips to see family. I remember a fishing trip our family took to a rustic cabin in Minnesota. I remember seashore excursions with many extended family members.
Friday nights - I would stay up late waiting for him to come home from work. Sometimes we would eat a late night pizza together.
When I learned cursive writing in school, I wanted to help him improve his doctor-like script and he was such a patient sport with me. I would have worksheets for him to do! He was a good daddy.
Good Labor - My dad had great physical strength. He built our beautiful childhood home which was a framework for many memories. He built for others and gave to others. He planted shade for the future on our property. My favorite tree he planted and introduced me to - the corkscrew willow.
He had a wonderful garden. My love for a tomato sandwich stems from my childhood. Nothing compares to the new potatoes and spring peas we would eat together. We put up corn together as a family and I remember the laughter. Dad planted flowers for me at the end of each row.
At his union hall, we planted flowers and cared for them as a family. We would water, snip blooms, etc. We worked together. His nurse at Firestone pierced my ears.
We learned to work in tobacco so that we could experience what Dad did as a child.
When we purchased a new TV when I was in grade school, he refused to get the remote that came with the TV because, he said: "if we were to lazy to get up and change the channel, we didn't need to be watching TV!"
Good End - my dad sustained a serious injury at work due to not letting go of a drill that demagnetized because it would have killed people below him. While he was off work due to the injury, at age 45, he had a severe stroke. His beloved wife died at 45 and he could not remain in the country in the home he'd built for his family.
Dad was an overcomer. He'd overcome polio and a rheumatic heart to play football in high school.
His life was characterized by pain, loss and hardship.
HE DID NOT COMPLAIN.
In the center of his frame,
He did not complain.
When he would come and stay with us, he would always ask what he could get at the store for me. He would sit in his truck and read his New Testament and Psalms. Job was a portrait of suffering and he didn't bemoan his losses and neither did my dad.
When Dad's life could've been spent
In a constant cry and deep lament -
In quietness, Dad drew his strength.
And though his outer man was disfigured and disabled,
His inner man was stronger than you think.
He had been given sickness, sorrow, loss and pain,
But never once did he complain.
Though his frame grew tired, worn and weak,
In quietness and silence, my daddy did loudly speak.
My father has provided the framework; but we choose what we put in the center of the display. The frame of my dad's life was strong, steady and stable. I submit that the character revealed, even though from a disabled and suffering man, resembled that of Jesus more than anything else. I will hold the memories dear of my father and I praise Our Father for the framework he provided in my childhood. May I, and those that follow Our Father, reflect and give all glory unto HIM to whom it is due. Be glorified and lifted up in us all Jesus."
Speaking at Dad's funeral, August 2015
In September, I still had Dad's memory cards on the center of our dining room table. We hosted a dear pastor at our home in September that we had met in Africa. He built a library at his orphanage and named it after my dad. This pastor from Africa knew nothing about my dad! Pastor Moses said the LORD told him to name the library after my dad… My dad and my family now have a sweet heritage in Africa! Hallelujah!!!
Moses wanted to visit my dad's grave.
We had two ceremonies that involved placing ornaments in my dad's honor on a tree. It was very precious to me. This ornament is from Audra's workplace.
I'm thankful for the framework of my father. Happy Father's Day!