These are the words I spoke today at Daddy’s memorial service. My Uncle Lu then reflected on his memories of Daddy as well.
Daddy was born an ordinary man. And like all men he wrestled with his sinful nature. But Daddy was also a believer and the promise for believers is clear: when this mortal life draws to a close our sinful natures are cast off and what remains is our godliness; our love. So I want to tell you a little about the godliness I met in Daddy and leave his sinful nature on the ground where its been shed as I find it totally irrelevant to his current conditions.
As I mentioned, Daddy was a believer. I cannot remember a time before I knew of God; Daddy worked to instill knowledge of our father in heaven within me from the beginning. He and my mother raised me in the church. Angels and demons, the afterlife, and the nature of God were frequent discussion topics between us. Daddy’s belief brought hope to those around him.
Daddy was a teacher. He spent hours with me tirelessly reviewing algebra problems the summer after my 8th grade year. He taught me how to cook (in case I got married he said) and he taught me how to change a tire (in case I didn’t get married). He taught me what he knew of the world and science and he was always patient in his instruction. Daddy’s teaching brought those around him a base of knowledge to build on.
Daddy was a motivator. He believed that everyone has been gifted by God with precious talents and gifts and he pushed me to succeed in those areas. His aim was always high (perfection) but it kindled a fire within me to strive for the best. I credit my professional accomplishments first to God and second to Daddy. Daddy’s motivation brought those around him success.
Daddy was a brave defender. He served in the Air Force. He was always ready to stand up to anyone who might harm others. I remember one incident that is burned into my memory forever: elementary school, spending time at Mama and Papa’s (again my grandparents home across town . Suddenly a woman is at the screen door off the kitchen in an instant, crying and begging for help. Her boyfriend was chasing her, with a gun, and threatening her. Without any hesitation Daddy let her inside and told us to call the police and go hide in the other room. (Of course I snuck out and watched and listened). The sweaty man came to the door, waved his gun around and demanded Daddy let him in. Daddy didn’t flinch. He refused, even after the man said he would shoot Daddy if he wouldn’t either let him in or send his girlfriend out. Daddy didn’t move and told the man he’d have to shoot him. Did I mention Daddy is stubborn too? The police came eventually and carted the man off but I hold fast to this memory of Daddy’s bravery. Daddy’s bravery brought those around him peace.
Daddy was a hard worker. He worked tirelessly for the federal government from the date of his military discharge until his retirement in 1985. He was the fix it man around the house, crawling up on the roof to change the a/c filters in NM in the hot sun or helping Mom roll out fencing in the dog kennels. He took on odd jobs (security guard) after retirement in his 60s to help pay for the expenses that come with raising a teenager. Daddy’s hard work brought those around him security.
Daddy was a storyteller. He had a flair for the dramatic which I’m proud to say I’ve inherited. His stories captivated and enthralled me and it was easy to listen to him. Every year around this time Daddy would tell me the grand story of my birth (I happened to be born in a historic blizzard) and when he told it, it was an epic, it was the most dramatic birth in history (following the birth of Jesus of course). Daddy’s stories brought those around him joy.
I hope that as time passes, those of you who knew Daddy will continue to find comfort in the ways he reflected godliness. And I have such joy in knowing that the parts of Daddy which were hurting and which hurt others are gone as Daddy has been made whole and perfected in Christ with his passing.