Hey Dad, A few years ago when you had a heart attack I wondered what I would say about you when you died. Yeah, I know it’s a little scary to admit. But at 33, that’s the stuff that goes through my head sometimes. You’ve done a lot to shape my life and I just didn’t want to wait until it was too late to thank you for making me a priority.
You always came to my soccer games, which I now know was a massive feat of calendaring expertise. But you made it happen. And it made me feel like what I was doing mattered.
You took me running. In sweatpants. Remember those days? Down the road, it was pretty darn slow at times, but you got me hooked. Remember how you used to tell me to “push it” when we got a mile or so from home. That taught me to push the limits at whatever I was doing. I learned, didn’t I?
Sometimes when I’m running now I think about those days. I’m grateful that you found time to teach me to be a champion.
I’ve had a lot of crazy dreams in my lifetime. I’m not sure if you inspired them or if you just tolerated my manic obsessions. I do know that your stories about your childhood and how you turned your life around have had a lasting impact on how I view the opportunity to make a difference in the world around me.
I will never forget the story you told us kids about your days in St. Louis. Redemption.
It’s the small things that come to mind. Like when I was a junior in seminary and I asked you for $500 so that I could get my insurance license and open up a business. You gave me the money. I failed. I don’t think I’ve paid you back yet. You never asked me to either.
As I got older I begin to realize how smart you were.
Somehow the more I knew, the more I knew that there was so much more to know. About business. About relationships. About life.
I was so heartbroken when my marriage was falling apart around me. I was so sad. I would just call you and sob. And I don’t remember that you ever said anything during those calls. If you did, I’m sorry I don’t remember it. But I remember that you were there for me. And that made all the difference in my world.
As I think back to the great role model that you were for me, I wonder how I am impacting those that I come into contact with. Am I great role model too? Sometimes when I’m in a store and I see an old person I stop and ask myself: “when I am their age will I have made a difference with my life?”. I hope so.
There are those who say that any one of us is too small to really change the world — to deliver hope and happiness and inspired living. To them I say: “You haven’t met my dad”. You’re just one person. But you’ve made a big difference. You’ve changed my world.
Thank you. I love you.