Saturday, June 14, 2014

just ask my dad

I still remember the first scholarly debate I ever had with my dad during my first semester of college.

Our points bounced back and forth, back and forth.  Each family member's eyes began to glaze over as the discussion wore on, but our eyes only became more animated.

Finally, it was over.  My dad smiled.  It was a proud smile - a smile I'll never forget.

To say that education is important to my dad is an understatement.  He spent the better part of 10 years receiving his Ph.D, continuing to devote the next few years to research.  Eventually he landed as a community college professor.  Biology was his subject of choice.

He's always taken an avid interest in his children's educations, as well.  It's funny, though; as much as he joked that at least one of us ought to end up a scientist, he really didn't care much what we pursued - as long as we were happy, he was happy.

He'd never tell you that he received a Ph.D or that he reads scholarly books for fun.  He'd never let on that he could talk circles around just about any circle he'd find himself in.  Instead, he chooses to remain silent on most subjects, feeling confident enough in himself that he never feels the need for superiority.

It's that quiet confidence that impresses me the most.  It's never arrogance - oh, no - although he sometimes likes to pretend arrogance around his family.

Dad: Your mom says I know everything.
Mom: No, I said you were a know-it-all.
Dad: Same difference.

No, it's not that.  It's the kind of confidence that never allows him to belittle another person - only uplift.  It's the kind of confidence I yearn for and hope someday to achieve.

He has that same confidence in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

For years, I never questioned its truthfulness, because I knew no one had thought it through more completely than my dad.  And he'd found complete peace with it, despite its sometimes seemingly-contradictory relationship with his beloved science.  No argument, no question ever ruffles his feathers because he's already thought it through to his satisfaction.  Even in my teenage years when I began to wonder, I found comfort in the knowledge that I knew that my dad knew.

I remember when some family friends raised their concerns about Santa Claus.  How can our kids trust us about important things, like Jesus Christ, they said, if we've lied to them about trivial things like Santa Claus?  My dad simply shrugged and said that he figured that his kids would be smart enough to notice that he didn't rearrange his entire life for Santa Claus.

Someone once suggested to me that I should try talking to Heavenly Father like I do my own dad.  I realized I might have some abnormally long conversations with Him, and that we might laugh a lot, but it made prayer that much more real to me.  I knew I could tell Heavenly Father anything, and that He would be one of my best friends.

It is still beyond my mortal comprehension how my Heavenly Father could possibly love me more than my earthly father - and that is perhaps one of the most amazing tributes I can pay to my earthly father.

If you don't have an earthly father like mine, I promise you: you have a Heavenly Father like mine.  He knows your name.  He listens to every word you say and every word you don't say.  He cares about the things you are going through.  He loves you.  Oh, how He loves you.  It's the kind of love that will stop at nothing to bring you home to Him someday.

Just ask my dad.

P.S.  Happy Father's Day, Dad.  I love you, too.

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