Two years ago today my dad died. We had less and less in common after I answered the call to pastoral ministry but I still miss talking to him. There were so many things over the last year I wanted to share with him. I think that’s because for all I learned from him and everything I prayed for him, most of all I really liked him.
More than a few things have kept him on my mind recently, most of which relate to Calvin. One of my greatest disappointments is that my father never met my son. They lived together on the planet for almost four and a half months, but were separated by three time zones, dad was too sick for travel, and our scheduled visit in June wasn’t soon enough. Just like my son, though, I never met my dad’s father.
There’s no doubt my dad would not have entirely appreciated Calvin’s thundering (“shake the gates of hell” kind of) ambition, yet there is much he would have liked. They could have watched ball together all day. The specific sport doesn’t matter so long as a ball’s involved: baseball, football, basketball, golf. All three of us love the game like our fathers.
The sons love the yard like their dads too. My dad got me started as early as four months. Calvin already has his own John Deere.
There’s also the injuries. When I was 14 I wrecked my bike pretty bad. When my dad saw the wounds he told me he didn’t remember being a “human scab” when he was a teenager and that if I wanted to see 15 I should probably slow down some. My son can’t even ride someone else’s knee without getting black-eyes and big scabs. I guess like father, like son.
And the other night at dinner I realized both my father and son are fascinated with belly-buttons. My dad enjoyed looking at his, keeping it free from lint, and talking to other people about theirs. So far Calvin follows his grandfather’s preoccupation, however, this trait apparently skipped a generation.
My dad wanted better for his son; so do I, though my hopes concern spiritual things more than earthly ones. My dad was too often cranky or even angry; so are his son and grandson. But for all the similarities (and differences), and though in God’s providence it didn’t work out, it would have been nice to get together. I know we would have liked each other.