Happy Birthday Dad!

Today would be my dad’s 73 birthday.  I can only imagine the things he would be telling me if he were alive today.  Dad passed away March 8, 1996.  His death was one of the two or three most devastating things to take place in my life.  Dad and I were great friends.  I enjoyed the pleasure of baptizing him 3 years before he died.  I remember the last time we worshipped together.  I was preaching in Gadsden, Alabama. He and my mom visited with us that morning.  My dad led the closing prayer.  This was the first and last time I heard him pray.  It was an event I will remember and treasure the rest of my life.

My dad and I spent the last 10 years of his life in business together. There were so many things we shared together, ao many things he taught me.  In the last year of his life his health had gotten to the point he wasn’t able to physically be at “work.”  I would get home at 6:30 each evening, at 6:35 the phone would ring and dad would want to know about everything.  He would end every call the same way.  He would say, “I’ll call you if you need me.”  You’ll have to think through that one!

Dad had so much wisdom to share.  I wish I had been mature enough to have grasped so much of what he told me.  If you will bear with me and allow me the time I want to share with you just a few of the things I heard him say to me through the years.

  • Dad said, “If you have enough really good friends you can count on to match the number of fingers on one hand you were blessed.” The older I get the more I realize that this may have been one of the wisest things he ever told me.  Through the years I have lost some really good friends.  The older I have gotten the more reluctant I am to give up a friend.  It has gotten to the point I don’t give up friends, if the relationship is severed, my friend will be the one to do so.
  • Dad said, “When times are hard you still have the same friends you had when times were good, it’s just now you know who they are.” In the last year or so I have come to understand this all too well.  I never thought about the fact that people would use you as a friend when you had something to offer and then turn their back when times changed.  During the past year hardly a day passes when I don’t really need a good friend only to realize they aren’t there for me anymore.  I feel like an old shoe that has lost it’s usefulness.  Wow dad you were a wise man!
  • Dad said,”If you want to get things you want, help others get what they want.” This is very similar to what the Lord said when he told us, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  I had a friend of mine once say to me, “Why not do something just because its right?”  This was a great question,  if my friend reads this I have the answer.  To do something because it is right is motivated by legalism.  To do unto others as you would have them do unto you is motivated from the heart.  When it comes to God we need to have a lot more heart and a lot less head involved.
  • Don’t Give Up Good Friends, ever. My dad had a cousin who was different.  He was hard headed, quick tempered, just grouchy in general.  They were great friends.  In fact dad was probably the only real friend this man had.  There were times in their life span that the cousin would be angry with someone who was a friend of my dad’s.  The cousin felt that if he was angry with the person dad should be as well.  Dad never let the cousin make him choose between friends and family.  Dad’s belief was that friends weren’t obligated to be friends, but family was a given not a choice.  In the end it always seemed to work out for him.
  • Dad said, “Don’t love anything that can’t love you back.”  How often we get caught up in chasing things or even sometimes people who have no capacity to love in kind.  Love is something that takes much effort.  Don’t give it lightly.  I don’t mean we shouldn’t love the souls of all mankind.  What I mean is this:  first never love things. Things are temporary.  They are here today and gone tomorrow.  Second: Be careful that you not love those who have no ability or intention of returning your love.  Nothing hurts like a heart broken by someone who is careless with that heart.  Be careful that you extend your love to those who can or will make the effort to return that love.
Happy Birthday dad.  I miss you more today that ever.  If your mom or dad are still alive, take the time to call them.  You might be surprised at how wise they really are!

3 Responses to Happy Birthday Dad!

  1. cambiodelmar says:

    Great post Dell. Your dad truly was a wise man. I experienced the same blessing in my dad. Thank you Lord for wonderful fathers! den

  2. Judy says:

    This is wonderful advice.

  3. Don Morrison says:

    Great advice. I remember a minister telling a story about one of his friends with whom he breakfasted weekly along with a few others. One morning after their breakfast his friend, troubled by something, asked him to go for a drive him. Eventually they got out of the car and his friend told him, “I have always thought that if I had 5 friends I could trust to handle my finances if I died, then I would be a success. I thought I had three, but today I found out I only have two.” This story made me re-evaluate my view of success when I was about 20 yrs old. A trusted friend and brother becomes family. And your father implies how to find a friend like that: be a friend like that

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