Monday, October 11, 2010

Reflections...Daddy's Little Piece of Heaven on Earth--the cove I love.

As autumn hues transform Lake Norman’s shores, the fireworks and picnics of summer make way for bonfires and blankets. It’s bittersweet in some ways, but I welcome the reprieve from this year’s heat.

Summer’s end at the lake usually evokes memories of the first time I saw On Golden Pond. I was twenty-two when the Oscar winner hit theaters, and already waxing nostalgic about my childhood, it stirred recollection of my own futile attempts to catch Walter in our golden cove in Sherrills Ford.

Years later, I recall other aspects of the film that may be more compelling than its majestic scenery: the complexity of relationships between parents and children, the exhilaration of shared adventures, the brevity of life.

Few things motivate us to ponder such matters more than the loss of a loved one, and having recently said, “See you later,” to the man I called Daddy, I hope what I’m about to share will encourage you to consider today’s opportunity.

My dad was old school. Undaunted by most challenges, after fighting in the Korean War he came home and started a business, learned to fly airplanes, built houses, and founded a private school. None of these accomplishments were a significant part of the legacy he wanted to pass on, however. What mattered to him was leaving a heritage of fierce faith and limitless love.

Daddy loved to talk, so he did. The greeter at Walmart knew him by name. The pharmacist at the drug store, the lab tech at the doctor’s office, the waitress at his favorite Japanese restaurant, his dry cleaner’s employees, the customers at my sister’s store, and so many others around the lake knew he loved them.

It seemed to me that Daddy didn’t recall a time when the clock had been his master and he reminded me often that he thought I needed to slow down. I justified my busyness but recognized that I often allowed the tyranny of the urgent to take precedence over important and occasionally, it haunted me.

Standing at Daddy’s bedside during his last days this summer, time stood still. Schedules, meetings, appointments and deadlines didn’t matter so much anymore, I just wanted to hear him tell me about the time he and his brother’s went skinny dipping in Lane’s Creek one more time. Instead, he pulled me close and whispered again that he was proud of me and that he loved me.

Today, as bronze and yellow leaves reflect fall’s glory in the waters of Dad's golden cove, I’m reminded of the man who built the house on the hill above the shoreline I love, and I miss him. But oh how precious it is when sorrow is soothed by the awareness that I won life’s lottery when God chose to give me a father who seized every opportunity to say, “I love you.”

If you read this with sadness thinking you weren't as fortunate remember this, the PERFECT Father who loves unconditionally is eager to adopt you. "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

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