“At My Father’s Table: My Favorite Memory of Dad” is also posted as a podcast here: Walking With Wendy
I have one especially fond memory of my dad that’s as close to me as ever. He wasn’t a bubbly and cuddly parent, but I don’t have any regrets about that because I’m grateful he was a gentle father. Not once did I fear he would suddenly lash out at me or raise his voice in a disconcerting decibel.
Dad was calm and kind.
He was the parent that tucked me into bed at night after he gave me a piggyback ride to my room. And if I went on a rant about something that was bothering me, he was the parent who just listened and teased a smile out of me as I witnessed the twinkle in his eyes and the uplifted corners of his mouth.
I felt accepted as I was—flaws and all.
He may not have told me he loved me while I was growing up, but he reached down and pulled my spirit up each time he smiled at me. His love was displayed rather than spoken. And my favorite memory of his love-in-action is also the memory that molded my love of books. Dad ordered the Dr. Seuss series through a mail-order club. When the first book arrived, he sat with me in my bedroom at my teeny-tiny wooden table and chair set and read The Cat in the Hat aloud.
The moment he opened that first book, he opened my ears and eyes to the wonderful world of fiction.
One day, about fifteen years later, I witnessed my father carry a book—that was anything but fiction—as he walked forward at a church revival meeting and publicly proclaimed his faith in Jesus Christ. For like me—like everyone—Dad was a sinner in need of a Savior.
And like me—like you—he had a Heavenly Father who loved him unconditionally.
The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
Psalm 118:14 NIV
My dad had Bipolar I disorder. His mental illness may have been a severe one, but he never displayed severe anger or even a hint of abuse towards me in my childhood. My dad—like all of us sheep who have gone astray—was flawed, but the safety I felt in his presence was flawless. He reached down to me and never put me down.
He lifted me up so that, to this day, I admire and respect the role a good-willed father plays in the lives of his children.
God reached down to us through Jesus so that we would be lifted up too. God is a God of active love. He didn’t just say He loved us, He demonstrated it through the crucifixion and resurrection of His one and only Son.
One of my last memories of my dad also involved a book:
He died suddenly and unexpectedly in his suite due to—I suspect—the cumulative effects of years of medication and prior electroconvulsive treatments that also caused his Parkinsonism. Although his body became shaky, I discovered his heart and soul were steady; for when I walked into his kitchen, I noticed an open book lying on his table. As I drew closer, I saw his Bible and the assurance of salvation papers he had probably filled out on the evening of the revival meeting.
Even in his death, he managed to comfort me and point me to written words, a reminder I would see him again when we sat together at the longest and most loving table ever to be set for a family of people whose names are written in the Book of Life.
Our reunion will be a flawless and forever one.
Our Life Song:
Our Lord commences and completes
The words and notes of our song
Because He is our hope and strength
With love forever deep and long.
Flawless Blessings ~ Wendy <3
What’s your favorite memory of a father figure in your life? As always, I’m nosy-to-know.
Wendy’s Podcast Version of this Post: Walking With Wendy
Wendy’s HopeStreamRadio Podcast List: Walking With Hope
36 thoughts on “At My Father’s Table: My Favorite Memory of Dad”
Beautiful, Wendy. So glad you have those warm memories. You are blessed. 🙂
Thank you, dear Gail. Warm memories are like hugs–comforting and healing. <3
Hi Wendy! Thank you for sharing some memories of your dad. It sounds like he was a cool die. I’m sure you miss hime. My dad was strict with me as a boy. I don’t really remember a favorite memory of him from my childhood. I think something deep inside him prevented him from expressing warmth to me. When I reached my twenties I left home for college. Anyway, as he got older there were some good and fun memories. I decided before I became a dad I would walways let my children know I loved them in word and deed. My dad has been dead for a number of years now. I miss him.
Alan, I think your decision to “love them in word and deed” was the ending of an old legacy and the breaking in of a new family tradition. It’s wonderful when we learn from our lack and then turn around and love with abundance. Good on you for not being bitter, and good on you for allowing the later years to yield good memories. 🙂
Hi Wendy! I would rather use my energy to love my kids. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing about your dad, Wendy. It is encouraging to me to know of a person who suffered with Bipolar I but never let it control his behavior toward his children.
Linda, my dad loved children. There were some issues that came up when I was an adult; but even then, he was not loud or scary. <3 He was so happy when I was finally able to have my own children. Sadly, he didn't live long enough to meet my daughter–I trust he'll see her on the other side.
Only Jesus can take the broken people we are and make us love…His love. Beautiful Spirit and words of encouragement from God through you this morning. Thank you! <3
Thank you, dear Diane. Jesus specializes in working with broken people because their hearts are humble and contrite enough to know how desperately they need Him. <3 I love that about Him.
Lovely tribute to your dad, Wendy. So wonderful to know of your reflections of him as a loving father. Praise God! ❤
Thank you, dear Iris. I didn’t realize the blessings I had midst the brokenness of our family until I was older. <3
Thank you, dear Susan. <3
My father taught me silly poems: “I wish that my room had a floor. I don’t care so much for a door, but this walking around without touching the ground is getting to be quiet a bore.” And “I eat my peas with honey, I’ve done it all my life. I does taste kinda funny, but it keeps them on my knife.” Dr. Seuss had competition.
Now we all know how you got started with poetry, Wendy.
Lee, Dr. Seuss sure did have competition from your dad. 🙂 I have no doubt my passion for poetry was ignited by those fun books. My passion for drawing for fanned into flame too as I used to draw some of the pictures that were my favorites.
You encouraged me so today as you found the good things within your father to celebrate and be thankful for! Thank you!
Debbie, your lovely post “Fashioned” goes perfectly with mine. God is good at using the broken because cracked pots make good lanterns for His Love to shine through. <3
Very sweet, Wendy. I guess my favorite memory of my dad, well, it’s hard to point to a favorite. But I loved him teaching me to ride a bike. I love that he found old used bikes and cleaned them up for us one Christmas. I love that he can impersonate Elvis and do it well. I have a ton. Divorce stole many years and moments from me, but it didn’t steal everything.
Thank you for sharing those special memories, dear Shelli. <3 Families are vulnerable to all kinds of thievery–divorce, illness, addiction etc. Praise God our memories cannot be stolen. I can't imagine the pain of watching a parent pack a suitcase and walk out the door… xo It was hard enough having my dad gone to the hospital, or having my childhood self shipped off to family or friends' homes for reasons I didn't understand at the time. By the way, I'd love to see your dad's Elvis impersonation. 🙂
Oh Wendy! Your tribute to your dad is beautiful. As you say, he didn’t express the words directly of I love you but instead showed it in many ways. And the way you describe him is full of love – thank you for sharing it with us xx
Thank you, dear Christy. I’m so glad I gave my dad a hug each time I saw him during the last decade of his life because I had no idea he would leave this earth so soon. <3 Love lasts forever.
Precious, Wendy. Not only the photography, snippets of a beautiful life, but how anchored your father remained in his tenuous illness. A lovely tribute.
Thank you, dear Diana. I’m also grateful for the Anchor that stays me and draws me so that I don’t want to stray. <3
Your father lived a double blessing, leaving behind a beautiful spiritual legacy. =)
Lovely memories you have of your dad! I’m praying for you.
Thank you. <3 It's nice to meet you, and welcome to the WordPress blogging world.
Wendy, this was beautifully written. God is and was so gracious to leave you comfort in an open Bible. What a gift from our Heavenly Father. God Bless
Thank you so much, dear Karen. That open Bible was the blessed assurance I needed during a time of deep sadness. God is good. So nice to meet you here, and blessings to you too. <3
I have God stories too of when my mama passed away. He heard my prayers…hope to write a bit about it some time. I’m a little over my head at the moment, definitely with the techy side. Things will look a bit ‘schizophrenic’ on my site until I get settled I’m sure…lol
I understand about “unsettled.” I have two blogs I’m thinking of turning back into just the one. 🙂 This one.