Sunday Morning Coffee: Father’s Day

My dad was a pastor. He walked me down the aisle on my wedding day, and then he gave me to Terry, switched places with the pastor who had asked “Who gives this woman. . .” and continued the ceremony. I still think it was a great privilege to have my dad perform our wedding. He’d baptized Terry, as well, and was definitely instrumental in nudging us toward one another.

I’m sorry the quality of the picture is so poor. I should have taken it out of the plastic holder. But I love this picture. My dad is still young, in his 40’s, and hadn’t suffered any of the conditions that plagued the last ten years of his life.

He was a big man, strong and capable. Look especially at his left hand holding the Bible. He had big, big hand and thick forearms. He’d worked hard as a boy growing up, then in the Navy, and later fixing cars in body shops as he worked his way through Bible college.

I remember once, when I had to be about 5, it was very icy. I think we were in the church parking lot. I remember he took hold of my small hand in his (to me) HUGE one, and held on tight until we were on safer ground.

I also remember those hands holding his only son. I was 14 when “Little John” was born, and I loved watching Dad cradle the baby in those big hands. Johnny was the caboose. A big surprise to both my parents, since there had been no more babies after me. My sister is a couple of years older. We were all excited, but I think for Dad it was of special importance that he had a son, a namesake. Not that he loved us less. That wasn’t part of the picture. But you learn, soften, and grow as time passes, and he was different with Johnny. When we moved to southern Minnesota, Johnny was still a baby. It was cold, and often Dad would tuck the baby inside his overcoat as he walked from the house to the church, which was on the same property.

My dad was no saint, except in the sense of being a born-again child of God. He’d grown up hard, and allowing God to temper him took some time. But I’m so thankful that he was my dad, for many years my pastor, and the best Bible teacher ever. He died when he was only 70. He’d be 96 today, but there’s no time in heaven. I think he’s just as young, strong, and handsome as he is in my memories. And one of these days I’ll see him again.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

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