It seems God’s plan for 2015 is to show me, among other things, how incredibly blessed I am to have the father that I do. I suppose there is no better way to learn not to take your father for granted than to watch him battle through something as terrible as cancer. To watch that strong frame grow frail and his spirits drop in frustration as his body seems to fight against him and his strength is depleted. It’s a difficult thing to see and the little girl inside of me is breaking at the realization of her Daddy’s mortality.
I’ve thought for days how to celebrate this Father’s Day. In so many ways it seemed the most significant one to date and yet it passed much like any other day. There was nothing quite right to do, nothing quite fitting or possible. Not when we are both fighting such terrible illnesses as these. I felt helpless, like I had nothing to give. Nothing but words.
Happy Father’s Day. I’m sorry I didn’t say it sooner. To see you so miserable on the day you should feel most blessed… I was at a loss for a response. I’m sorry for failing to say anything for fear of saying the wrong thing.
I hardly even know where to begin. There is no way I would ever be the person that I am without you. You are, in so many ways, my first love. To my little girl heart there was nothing better than being in the safety of your arms and it’s still a safe-haven I love so much.
Yesterday I searched for a photo of just the two of us together. I went to your Facebook profile and scrolled through your many photos. And for the first time in my life I found myself capturing a glimpse of the way that you see me. I couldn’t find many photos of just the two of us in your profile, but I found so many photos you had taken of me. There were so many photos of me chasing after nature with my camera. Photos from big moments in my life like interviews and my first date. Each photo with memories attached, either old or new. And each photo coming together to overwhelm me with a realization of the way that you love me.
You have given so much of your life to me. So much of your heart. You have labored hard and sacrificed greatly. You have poured your love so intentionally into my life. You’ve encouraged me to pursue my creativity, my passions, and my ideas. You have equipped me so well for life and taught me lessons that will help me from now until my last breath. Thank you for not only saying you love me, but proving it. Thank you for telling me you’re proud of me. Thank you for every moment you have struggled and fought to be the best dad you could. For every tear that you’ve cried over me, for every prayer that you’ve said for me, and for every hard-earned dollar you’ve spent to care for me. Thank you for being the one who took me on my first dates. The one I come to with so many questions and problems. Thank you for caring about who I date and being involved in my relationship. Thank you for loving me enough to let go of your little girl and allow my heart to be taken by another man.
Thank you for teaching me how to study and seek after the truth. For teaching me how to think critically and search diligently. Thank you for teaching me the value of wisdom. I can’t even imagine living life without having you there when I want to talk about theology or ministry.
In the past 8 months cancer and its treatments have taken their toll on you. They’ve changed your appearance and caused you to look so much different than the dad I’ve always known. And while I feel like I should understand better than most what it must feel like to be robbed of your strength… there’s still a part of me that feels like it must be even more difficult for you, as a husband and father, to face than it has been for me through my own illness. But you’re still you. You’re still the man that God ordained to give me life. The man that taught me how to live life. The man who has always pointed me first and foremost to God. You’re still the one who first held my heart. Who has loved and supported me through my very weakest times. And nothing will ever change that.
You are invaluable to me, daddy, and I love you.
Thank you for loving me,