One of the many things I inherited from my father, besides his looks, was a love for the beach. While growing up, we lived near the beach and visited it and pools often during the summer. Later on, we moved to an area further away from the beach, but every summer, we took the longer drive to spend some time in the sand and surf.
I can still picture dad, myself and my brother in the surf gently bobbing over waves with the sun on our faces totally enjoying the day. Dad began to share how close he was to his father and some of the fun things they did together. He told my brother and I how much times like this meant to him, having something special we enjoy doing together. He told us that this was the type of things that made lasting memories. He was right!
As we continued to enjoy the waves and sun, he shared how devastated he was when his father passed away. Even thinking of good memories he had of them together would bring tears and heartache. But he explained, that time has a way of bringing healing to pain and eventually he began to look back on those memories and treasure them. He told us that day that someday in the future when he was gone, we would look back at times like that and at first it would be painful to remember how much we would miss him. But, he offered hope that later these would be truly cherished times in our hearts.
Guess what? Dad was right! Several years later, Dad died suddenly 8 days before my wedding. Knowing that he would want us to continue with our plans, a beautiful ceremony was held and a new life began. On our honeymoon, we had to drive through the beach town where my family vacationed. I remember riding through the town with my head down, not looking because of the pain of missing Dad. Seeing the familiar hotels and restaurants was just too much.
It took several years to go back to our beach destination. By then, a new family was created, I had a husband and a baby. New memories were being made. And sure enough, I can remember that day in the surf without tears, but with a smile, knowing he gave some good advice and a part of him will always live on in my heart.
Today is Father's Day and is also our 23rd anniversary! It's a day of bittersweet memories of Dad, but also a day to celebrate the gift of a godly, wonderful husband and the fantastic father he is to our three sons. Life is a series of good times and bad, joy and pain, highs and lows. The only consistent thing we can couunt on is the love of our Heavenly Father. He is faithful through all times and will love us like none other.
“Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds, By His name YAH, And rejoice before Him. A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation.” Psalm 68:4-5 NKJV