My Father’s Call

My dad calls me every day. I can count on him. I look forward to it. 

He called this afternoon and I didn’t call him back until this evening. I thought he was just asking me something trivial.

But when I did return his call, it turned out a lifelong friend of his is dying, Larry. Not expected to make it past tomorrow, if that. Larry is a wonderful man and a devoted father, husband, and Catholic as well. He lives in Kansas, where we’re from. My dad won’t get to see Larry to tell him goodbye. Larry is sarcastic and blunt, he either likes you or he doesn’t. But he’s a wonderful man– we’ve stayed with him and his wife, Jan, several times when visiting home. Please pray for them as they struggle through this impending loss. 

I felt terrible. I selfishly assumed he wanted something– when in fact, he needed something. My support. He was just calling to tell me about Larry. I waited five hours to call him back. He’s usually in a wonderful mood, but he sounded tired, sad.

One day, my dad won’t call anymore. One day, he may lose his health. There’s Alzheimer’s in his family, his last remaining brother, Jim, was stolen that way. I  pray that it never infects my father’s gentle and unrelenting spirit. I hope he’s with me another 20 years.

My dad is such a warrior. He’s the youngest, and only remaining sibling of seven. So many people in his life have died– and he just soldiers on. Gets up every morning, prays, goes to work. Mass every Sunday, or Saturday if he can’t make it. He never breaks the rules– he always does what’s right. He loves routine. 

When I question my own faith, my father is the example I reach toward of what religion can do for a person. He has endured so much loss and tragedy in his life– but his faith is what keeps him strong. My father is a wonderful man, a doting father and husband, a lifelong business man.

If my father believes in God, I do. That’s how much I esteem his judgement. Sometimes I disagree, I still rebel sometimes, because he’s conservative. We may not vote the same. 

But I’ve never met a human with a bigger heart than my dad. Hearing news like this scares me.  I’m crying as I type this. 

He’s just my favorite person. He tells me, “I’m always proud of you– just some days more than others.”

I’m an only child. My mother died when I was young. My dad is nearly 40 years older than me– much older than most parents my friends’ age. For this reason, I feel a need to do things faster. I want to accomplish things– to be able to share them with my dad, before he’s gone. 

I pray that he’ll be with me– fully mentally and physically able– until the day I hope he can walk me down the aisle. Until the day I hope he lives to be a grandfather. Until I can begin to repay the love and patience and belief he’s bestowed on me. Until I can pay off my debt and hopefully take care of my dad the way he’s always taken care of me. 

I’ve tried to be a devoted daughter the way he’s been such a devoted father. 

My father embodies the concept of grace. I don’t always deserve his love or approval, but I know I always have it. 

He doesn’t love me because of what I’ve accomplished– but merely because I’m his daughter. 

I see him whenever I can. 

Today I was reminded that whatever faults my dad have possess, I should never ever take his love or health for granted. 

And that he deserves for me to answer whenever possible and to call him back, right away. 

I’m so lucky to have a dad WANTS to call me–  not everyone does. He’s always telling me I’m so smart, though I don’t always believe it. He’s always encouraging me to keep writing– to not give up on newspapers. To not give up a career as professional, to believe I’m worthy of it. 

Please pray for his friend, Larry, and his family. And please say a prayer for my dad, too. He grew up a farmer, and many men on his side of the family live to be 80 or even in their 90’s. Farm life instills a rock solid work ethic in you that keeps you healthy for many years beyond what most people achieve.

My father doesn’t smoke. I’ve never seen him drunk in my life. He’s proof that a life of clean living is possible and worth it.

Thank you, God, for my father. 

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