Dear Dad

From James:

I’ve decided to honor my dad with this post. I guess I could have written him a private letter, but I feel like others should get a chance to hear about him, too. If you read this and feel compelled, feel free to respond with a post — long or short — about your own dad, to honor him.

Dear Dad,

There are so many things about you that amaze me, so much you have accomplished in this life. B-52 pilot. Air Force colonel. Soccer champion. Supreme negotiator and salesman. Georgetown MBA. Incredible work ethic. Exemplary provider. Supreme handyman and woodworker. And how did you land Mom? I mean, you’re a charming guy and all, but she was way out of your league…

More than that though, I want you to know that I admire your character, the man you are inside. I remember hearing you do the congregational prayer today. (I would say, “Nice prayer,” by the way, but I don’t want that to be your only reward, if you know what I mean, so I’ll refrain.) I thought (and I was praying, too, mind you), “My dad is such a tough guy. But he is a man of deep emotions. How can he be both?”

Your love for me and my family is so evident. I know it hasn’t always been easy for you to express that love to me. I’ve been really proud that you’ve been able to say “I love you” since I became an adult, and we even do those sort of  one-armed “man hugs” every once in a while. You initiated all of that, by the way. I didn’t. But you didn’t have to do that to show it. I can tell.

I remember how you just so desperately wanted to help when the world started crashing down around us seven months ago. You were ready to do anything, but the situation didn’t readily lend itself to what you are best at. Soon, you took on our house projects with gusto, combining your repair and maintenance know-how with your financial means to help us. So Young can see so much better with the new lights on the main level because of what you did. We were just talking about that last night. Also, the back fence is well on its way. I could never have done either without you, and those are just two examples among many. You are an amazing servant and giver/provider.

There is also the love you have for Mom. Forty years of marriage to your “bride,” as you proudly call Mom. That is such a model for all of us to follow. It shows deep character — a commitment to integrity and fidelity that is so rare today. So Young and I often remark to each other that we can tell you two really love each other. Your commitment is a rock, and it will be for generations to come. I want to have that fierce, unwavering devotion to my bride as well.

You may have never noticed it, but you are also a great encourager to me and my family. I find it fascinating that a man who is so tough on the outside can also bolster others up so effortlessly. I think of how you have encouraged So Young during the toughest times. For example, when So Young was in the emergency room after the half marathon last month, you just sort of materialized at the hospital within minutes of my phone call. You were there with strong words of encouragement for So Young and all of us, like some kind of an Air Force colonel angel or something. It seems like a small thing, but it is emblematic of so much. We won’t soon forget it and all the ways you lift us up.

Dad, I really want to honor you. I hope this takes some steps in that direction. As you prayed, we dads aren’t always perfect. As a father myself, I know exactly what you mean, and I face that every day. But you have done so well.

I love you, Dad.




4 Responses

  1. There is very little anyone can say about this tribute, it’s a ode to fatherhood.

  2. wow…thank you for sharing all that! it is beautiful! i got the pleasure of seeing your dad that sunday (did not get the pleasure of hearing his prayer b/c i was in graceland) on my way out to my car & i shared with him how blessed i have been in seeing him be such a wonderful father to you all & how wonderful it must be to see his son be such a reflection on Christ! the apple does not fall far from the tree james!!! what a blessing you both are!

    hayong = )

  3. I don’t think I have ever met your mom and dad, but I think I know you a little more, especially through this blog, how caring, loving, and faithful person you are. Time to time, I think of your mom and dad with respect, and that they must be a good role model for James and So Young in order for James to be the way he is… Thank you for enlightening me with an confirmation.
    Grace from Colorado

  4. I couldn’t pass up the chance to add my commendation of Mr. Gage (for whom I’ve always had a great deal of admiration and respect!) and to celebrate my own daddy: an incredible man who always had the patience to answer every one of his little girl’s questions (particularly during road trips!) and continues to show sacrificial love for my mom, brother and me… and now for my husband and sons. I am eternally grateful to God for the parents He’s given me, and thankful for another Father’s Day with my daddy!

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