Today is my father's birthday. He was born in 1908, on a humble farm in the rugged and hauntingly beautiful mountains of eastern Kentucky.
Dad would have enjoyed this day…it's sunny and warm, and everywhere spring is bursting at the seams with birdsong, dozens of wildflowers, and the vernal season's emerging greenery. The river is full and a bit discolored, but I'll bet my father would be thinking about us going bullhead fishing, and perhaps gathering a mess of dandelion greens to cook with our supper fillets afterwards.
God, how I'd love to do that with him one more time….
I fear to imagine where my life be without Dad's unstinting love and wise guidance. He taught me to value and live with courage, honor, and compassion; he introduced me to the beauty of nature and the delight of outdoor adventures; he gave me the freedom and encouragement to follow my calling; and he led me to realize that a worthwhile life needs a spiritual center.
The older I get, the more I treasure his hand in my raising.
Dad loved me with all his heart. I never doubted that fact for a single moment, even when we were at odds over something. And I always did my level best to love him back.
It has been nearly thirty-one years since my father passed away. Time has barely dulled that pain's sharp edges; the aching void remains. There's not a day goes by during which I fail to think of him—to wish I could show him something or ask a question.
Yet more than anything, I'd like to be able to simply put my arms around my father, give him a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and tell him how very much he meant to me.
To say, "Happy birthday, Dad! I love you, always. And I know, too, that God never blessed anyone with a better father…a gift for which I'm so very thankful. "