Some days in our lives just seem to stand out above all the others. We make some of them special and then some of them are kinda forced on us to make them special. Commercialism does that to all of us.
We have so many days that we feel almost guilted to observe. We buy flowers on Mother’s day and Birthdays and Anniversaries. We go out to eat ( as though that is unusual) on other days. We have to go to our favorite place to eat what we like on any given night that is NOT an auspicious night. but the occasion for which we go Makes it auspicious.
I guess what I am saying is that we are not always allowed to choose what days we think are the most special in our own lives.
Two kids planned a wedding some 53 years ago. “Let’s see, you graduate on May 30th, and I graduate on June 4. That takes up two weekends back to back. I will come to your graduation with a u-haul trailer and bring all your things back to Nashville and you can live with my sister until we can get married. Mom and I will come and bring you back. Then, we have the next two weeks to get everything ready. I know, let’s make it June 20th. That sounds like a good date, because we will have a week for our honey-moon, then we come back and move into the parsonage in Greenbriar in 2 weeks after that. Then I sign up for classes at MTSU the next week, so this is the best date. ” we agreed.
The fact that June 20th, 1965 also was Father’s day. It was never considered until we started sending out invitations. The RSVPs were something like . “we would love to come , but we are going to be visiting my dad on that Father’s day.
And so it was that we actually saw the auspiciousness of a day. But, we went ahead with our plans. We had a beautiful wedding in the North Nashville COGOP. It had a bell tower and was just a perfect setting. We went to church that morning…well, she didn’t but after church at about 2 pm , it all started.
The wedding went as planned. Her dad walked her down the isle and gave her hand to me in marriage. We were 18. I sang to her as she walked down the isle. It was all quaint and romantic and it has lasted for 53 years.
Our anniversary always falls on the Father’s day weekend. It can sometimes get hectic being away from our families on that date, but we only see it as an anniversary. And since she is the one who made me a father, I kinda feel the need to make that day special for s both.
And so it was on Father’s day in 1991, that we made plans for a trip to Austin Texas for a couple of days for the anniversary.
I called my dad on that day and talked to him for a couple of hours. We laughed and he told me some of his old jokes that I had heard a dozen times, but then something interesting happened. While I was talking to him, he just feel asleep . My mom scolded him and woke him up. I thought it was awesome that he felt comfortable doing that. We said our good byes and I told him where we would be.
On the day we were to leave for Austin we had our clothes packed and in the car. The phone rang. When I answered a voice on the other end asked if I were sitting down. That is a strange way to start a conversation. I said no but I can if it is necessary. I was the Presiding Bishop of W. Texas and sometimes I dealt with some pretty difficult issues.
The voice on the other end said. “Your dad has had a stroke. You need to get here as soon as possible. ” I thanked him and hung up. I was frozen. My wife asked .”what was that about”? I said . “Dad is not expected to make it” We both were just shocked for a few minutes. It was gut wrenching.
It was at the hospital that I learned why he had fallen asleep. The stroke was beginning at that very moment. He was fixing a washer for mom and fell in the floor. Eight days later, he died.
Never a Father’s day goes by that I don’t buy white roses for my wife to celebrate our anniversary. We always go out to eat and sometimes we do special things like take a cruise for those milestone years. But never, on Father’s day do I not remember the last conversation I had with my dad. Father’s day is not my favorite day for that reason.
He had asked me to come home. He said “Hey son, move back here and let’s start a church together. I will be the pastor to the older group and we can have some time together”. I looked at my father looking at me like a little boy and told him how important my position was in the church and how needed I was in that position and all the great things we were doing. I heard him say. “yeah, that is important.”
How I wish I had done as he asked. How I wish I still had some of that time to spend with him; laughing. building stuff, fishing, or just hanging out drinking coffee.
The auspicious day I look forward to is the one where I get to see him again. Yep. That one will be really special.
So on this father’s day, nothing you are doing for anyone else is nearly as important as loving your dad.
I love you pop!