02 February 2010
A special “shout out” to my paternal parental unit (my father) as he celebrates his 68th birthday today. There is a lot I could say about my father and my relationship with him, but he is a lot more “private” than I am and out of respect, I won’t tell his story, even as it overlaps mine. I will say this: I am his first born and only daughter. He likes to add the caveat “that I know about” and it is a running joke that if there is another daughter out there somewhere, she should have showed by now because I have staked my claim as “first and only”. We don’t have the typical “father/daughter” relationship – at times, it is downright strained and awkward, but I think we both act on Biblical principles in our dealings with each other: I strive to “honor” him in all things (Ex. 20:12) and he strives to not “provoke his (daughter) to anger” (Ephesians 6:4). Both of us have been successful – and unsuccessful – at that over the years.
Regardless of the state of our relationship at any time, I am ever reminded that I AM my father’s child – half of my chromosomal makeup is from him and impacts every area of my life: I get my phenomenal work ethic from him – “do it right the first time and you won’t have to do it again.” and “if your name is going to be on something, it should be a good representation of who you are” were caveats drilled into me as a little little girl that stay with me even today. I used to look like him, but now I am looking more and more like my mother. I get my ability to look at things rationally (and sometimes seemingly without emotion) from him. My obsession with being everywhere on time (and even early) comes from him and his statement, “if you show up on time, you are already late.” I get my stubborn, dig my heels in when I think I’m right attitude from my father as well. My methodical way of looking at things – yeah, that is a trait from my father as well. And I get my love of God and desire to know Him better from my father as well.
Like I said, my relationship with my earthly father has not always been “peaches and cream”. It is difficult at times for two people who are so much alike to exist peaceably. In fairness, over the years, I have caused my fair share of conflict and strife in our relationship. Sometimes totally innocently and other times, maybe without such innocence. Misunderstandings born out of miscommunication and/or silence on one or both of our parts have resulted in wasted time, never to be regained. But the past is the past and cannot be changed – eventually, you have to move on. (Or as one of my good Facebook friends recently posted: The past should be a springboard, not a hammock.)
Being my earthly father’s child has made me draw closer to my Heavenly Father. See, I am HIS child as well. Our relationship hasn’t always been “peaches and cream” either. With patient loving kindness, long-suffering, patience, mercy, patience, grace, and did I mention: patience? – my Heavenly Father daily shows His love for me. When my relationship with my earthly father was at its lowest ebb, I wondered how could I have a relationship with my Heavenly Father Who I could not see when I couldn’t even have a relationship with my earthly father who it was possible for me to see? It makes it a little difficult – or it did for me. Until I realized that God, in love and mercy, had put other tangible examples of fatherly love in my path to show me Who He was/is/can be in my life and since then, my relationship with Him – and with my earthly father – changed.
My father is not perfect, our relationship is not perfect. But I believe – I have to believe – that he is the “perfect” father for me or God would not have made me the fruit of his loins. The lessons I have learned (and continue to learn) from my relationship with my father draw me closer to the Lord – and that is where I want and need to be.
Happy 68th birthday to Rudolph Arnett Lorenzo Smith. May God richly bless your day and your life with His love. May all your wishes, dreams and aspirations come true. And when Jesus returns to take His children home to live with Him, may both of us have lived our lives in such a way that He will say to us: "Well done, good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of thy Lord" (Matt. 25:21). Love you, mean it.