Saturday, January 16, 2016

January 16, 2001

The date appears, with a reminder note, on my calendar each year.  Although some of the memories of that day are very vivid, others have faded with time.  We knew for certain that my dad met God face to face that day because as a college student at Texas Technological College he chose to put his faith and trust in Jesus.  During those college years, many hours were spent at First Baptist Church, Lubbock and the Baptist Student Union (BSU) learning more about what a relationship with his Lord and Savior was like.

Some of the details of that day no longer bring about strong emotions.   Those memories don’t seem to be the ones that I hold on to when I think of my dad.  Death took his life, but it can’t touch the relationship and memories that will forever be stored in my heart and mind.  Even after fifteen years, the love and lessons from my childhood and beyond continue to impact my life.

These years have cemented the value of what he taught us.   

* Faith and church are important.  Not only did he tell us that, but his actions spoke along with his words.  He reminded us often that we would have our friends at school and our friends at church, but it was the friends at church that would be our lifelong friends.
* Always be respectful of Mom, with your words and actions. 
* There were high expectations for learning and educational opportunities.
* I learned to be a list maker, for organizational purposes, from my dad.
* Dad taught us that it is important to express thanks and be grateful for what you receive and have.
* Be respectful. 
* Presence is important.  Dad and Mom made it a point to be at our church, school, and sports activities.  That continued on with the grandkids, too.
* You only have one chance to make a good first impression.
* He taught me to smile first, before answering the phone, when I worked at his office in the summer.  That might be the customer’s first impression of the business and he wanted it to be a positive one.
* Family is one of the best gifts you are given.  Before they were married, Dad told Mom that he desired to raise a family that was close and enjoyed being together.  He would be pleased to know that the family traditions continue.  We still have beach week each summer and get together for holidays, birthdays, and every other chance we can.
* After my brother died, at the age of 38, we knew that part of Dad’s heart died, too.  But on more than one occasion, he reminded me that you can spend time mourning what you have lost or you can celebrate, invest in, and be grateful for the ones you still have with you.  I am thankful that we were all recipients of the gift of that love.
* Humor and laughter are wonderful gifts.
* Family meal times feed the body and the soul. 
* There is a lesson to be learned in each situation.  Sometimes it may be something you want to learn to embrace while other times it is something you need to avoid or get rid of.                                      
* And yes, Dad, I still empty the lint trap on the dryer after each load, to save money and to keep the machine working to capacity.

The memories, love, and lessons continue…

There is a time for everything,
     and a season for every activity under the heavens:
     a time to be born and a time to die, 
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a 

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.
Psalm 116:15

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