Father's Day Reflections: Footsteps in the Emergency Room
- Wednesday, June 13, 2012
He is only a man but somehow helped me become so much more. He’s flawed, prone to mistakes, sometimes stern and periodically difficult to agree with. Although perfection has eluded him, he has managed to lasso gentleness, wisdom and, uncharacteristic for a man, a saturation of tender compassion. He is occasionally velvet, occasionally steel.
In younger days I only viewed him through the single image scope of being my authority figure, but now he is seen through a kaleidoscope that reveals multiple sides of his sacrifice, love and impeccable character. He no longer serves as simply my father. Just as important, he has become my trusted friend.
His hands used to discipline me but they are now used to disciple me. They are not hands that take away; they are hands that give. Never do they push down, because they are always busy lifting me up. His baritone voice – used as a megaphone in my teen years to confront me – now serves as a compass of guidance to comfort me.
When I was younger I misread his motives and decisions. Now that I am a father myself, his directions have boomeranged back to me with a clarity that explains what I once misunderstood. Although he is only a man there are few who are his equal.
He has succeeded in business, made a lot of money and earned the respect of his community. These are the accomplishments men burn the tread off their lives trying to obtain. To men, the seduction of prosperity deceptively appears to be the validation of a life well lived and a guarantee of the respect we all crave. Look closely around the altars of achievement. Tragically, they often reveal the sacrifices of what should have been most valued – marriages, children and integrity.
My Dad believed successes outside the home could never compensate for failures within. I’m proud of my father for his unwillingness to negotiate with his family. Of all his medals and honors, my mother, two sisters and I bring him the greatest worth. Because of this, the four of us have self-esteem and confidence we might never have known.
Twelve years ago I was reaching down in the floorboard of my vehicle to grab a pen. Driving 50 miles per hour, I didn’t see the stoplight turn red. I was hit broadside by a car traveling almost the same speed. My vehicle rolled upside down into a telephone pole, and since I was not wearing a seatbelt, my head crashed into the front windshield. Unable to move and soaked in blood, I began to wonder if I was going to live. Minutes later as the ambulance carried me to the emergency room, I asked the paramedic if I was going to die. After he assured me I would not, I asked if he thought I would ever be able to play with my kids again. The concussion made his words hard to decipher but my mind immediately fixated on one thing – my family. They were all that mattered anymore.
My wife arrived at the hospital but the doctors wouldn’t let her see me until the nurses stopped the bleeding from my head. They wanted to protect her from the crimson streaks on my face and the premature conclusions they might bring.
I didn’t know my father had arrived, or that he was granted permission my wife had not received. Still strapped to a gurney to keep my head from moving, I couldn’t turn to see whose footsteps I heard coming down the hall. I didn’t need to. I already knew it was my dad. The sound of his gait in boots was unmistakable. Before he spoke a word I felt a calm that only a Father’s presence can bring. I was unsure of what lay on the road ahead but I knew without a doubt my Dad would walk me through. I made a full recovery and even though I have forgotten many of the details of the wreck I will never forget the day dad showed up.
This Sunday people all over America will celebrate Father’s Day. For many, this day will bring great satisfaction as you honor the man you call Dad – the person who has been a role model or even a hero to you. Hopefully he has been the bedrock of strength and stability during the joyous times as well as the troubled ones when you lay helpless and unstable in the ‘emergency rooms” of life.
For others, it’s a day when you feel sorrow because your father is deceased. It’s a good day to remember that just because he isn’t walking the earth doesn’t mean his influence ceases to exist. Regrettably, many people find that Father's Day isn’t a celebration but a painful reminder of what could have been. Even the heartache from an abusive, neglecting or absentee dad can be a propellant to steer you into becoming to others what he never was to you.
Whether you experienced the love of a good earthly father, you can have a heavenly one. Similar to the actions of my own dad, God longs to step into your personal emergency rooms of life to offer comfort, peace and guidance as your Father. While you may not think He is aware or near your struggle, if you will listen and believe, you’ll find Him right by your side. Remember, he has access to you like no other.
Evangelist Jay Lowder is the founder of Jay Lowder Harvest Ministries, an organization dedicated to reaching diverse groups of people with the message of Jesus Christ. Lowder is also author of “Midnight in Aisle Seven,” releasing in September 2012 from Passio, an imprint of Charisma House. He resides in Wichita Falls, Texas, with his wife, Melissa and their three children Lane, Kayley Faith and Graham.
Publication Date: June 13, 2012
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