Today he’d be 82.
But 26 days ago he took his last breath on earth…and his first in eternity.
Twenty-two days ago an icy wind cut to the bone as the bugler touched shivering lips to the horn and blew out “Taps—the saddest sound on earth,” as dad would say.
The flag was folded by white gloved heroes standing strong and proud as if they didn’t notice the sub-zero, biting wind.
The salute of the rifles silenced the whipping wind.
Go rest high on that mountain
Son your work on earth is done
Go to Heaven a shoutin'
Love for the Father and the Son
The preacher read and spoke and prayed.
And a marker was placed up on the ridge next to a pond—dad would want to know if it was a place he could fish.
He taught me to swing a bat and throw a ball. He taught me to drive a boat, water ski, tie a fishing knot, land a Pike and never say can’t.
He worked hard.
If he knew a need—he met it.
If he saw a flaw—he’d fix it.
If someone stretched out a hand—he shook it.
And when I blew it—which was often—he always gave me a second chance.
He was loud in so many ways, except his religion. Some might even wonder where he stood as far as all that goes.
But if you’d watch, you’d see where he stood, more than hear.
He’d close his eyes and bow his head before every meal. It was brief and quiet and easy to miss—but I saw him do it a hundred times or more. He’d do the same before every take-off and landing when on a plane.
He’d give anonymously. Kind of like how he prayed.
Was he was too embarrassed to say, “Let’s pray”? Or maybe he figured—
relationships are best shown, to be known.
When I was boy, maybe around eight or ten, he took a stand. He sat us kids around the dining room table and said he’d committed his life to Christ. He read from the Bible, prayed out loud and I learned a new word that day—devotions.
It didn’t last. I don’t remember when the thing dad called, family devotions, stopped. But the impact never did—it changed my life, forever.
He made mistakes to be sure. Some might even say in terrible ways. I still remember the day I discovered he wasn’t Superman, and couldn’t walk on water.
But, he was my dad, good and bad, for better or worse, and through it all he taught me, God is greater and He gives us all a second chance.
It didn’t take me long to figure out all on my own that…
Maybe God only counts to two, ‘cuz I’ve had more than my fair share of second chances.
And isn’t that the point of it all? No matter the life, how terrible or great, God’s grace is sufficient to forgive, if only we’ll repent and turn from our sin.
Twenty six days ago Dad crossed the final threshold to his eternal destination. He didn’t wear his religion out loud but walked like a man who knew his sin…and prayed every day to be forgiven.
He’s run out of second chances—because he’ll never need another.
He’d be 82 years old today, but instead, I believe, he’s twenty six days young and celebrating his best birthday ever, knowing he’s forgiven and forever with The Son.