Happy Birthday, Dad

Today my father would have celebrated his 85th birthday. He is dearly loved and deeply missed. Thank you, Dad, for the forever imprint you placed on my heart. I’m so grateful to be your daughter.

My dad and meYou took us to the other side of the world to serve others but that never stopped you from taking care of us. No fixit request we dropped on you last minute was ever too much. You modeled what being a faithful spouse should look like. You were a man of few words and much integrity, with the tenacity required to catch Canada’s biggest and finest and bring home the BPOW fishing trophy to prove it.

  • I will miss you telling me “love you lots” when you said goodbye.
  • I will miss your dry humor, sometimes so esoteric that only you knew you were saying something funny.
  • I will miss you grumbling about Mom making taco salad for dinner on “fun food Friday.”
  • I will miss you ringing my doorbell and sending the dog into distinctive fits of yowling, announcing that we were about to welcome a very special guest.
  • I will miss being able to take my broken “whatevers” over to your house – knowing you’ll figure out a way to make it all better.
  • I will miss you calling me Barbie, watching Fox News, and listening to obnoxious talk radio super loud while you paint my house.
  • I will miss your reaching for my hand as we bow our heads and thank God for the food.
  • I will miss your declining days, when you took long naps in your chair.
  • I will miss you being sick – but… still here with us.

Now that you’re gone, it feels like the earth has shifted on its axis. And until we see each other again, I will never stop missing you.

I love you, Dad. Love you lots…

Renaissance Man

Bob-BeikertMy dad wore size elevens, but the shoes he filled in my life were much bigger. He was a man of faith, a loving husband who sacrificed for his kids, he had an impeccable work ethic, and was remarkably resourceful. He owed much of this to his parents, Andy and Margaret Beikert, who also passed down this legacy to their 19 grandchildren.

Young Bob started going to church three times a week when he was just a tiny baby, as evidenced by his “Cradle Roll” registration at 3 days old. His parents were from large farming families in western PA, a place where they say “you’ns” instead of “ya’ll.” They met at church, married, and had seven children. Bob was the oldest and the only boy. They lived in a 325 square foot house with no indoor plumbing.

My father told me that he grew up greatly impacted by the gospel; his mother faithfully reading Bible stories and praying with him every day. When he was 9 years old he made a public profession of faith by walking down a sawdust aisle in the old tabernacle. Continue reading

New Eyes

It was sometime in the fourth grade that my ten-year-old nose found itself cohabitating with a pair of spectacles. At least that’s the year they started showing up in school pictures, little pink cat eyes that made me look perpetually shell-shocked. I hated wearing them, so finally in high school vanity prevailed over common sense. The glasses were banished to a dresser drawer even though I was extremely near-sighted.

Not surprisingly, the beauty quotient was negatively impacted by an inability to make meaningful eye contact with cute guys. (Or anyone, for that matter.) I never realized that the opposite sex was misinterpreting my major myopia as a lack of interest. Fortunately in college I stopped living in denial of perpetual F’s on eye exams and started wearing glasses again. (Which remarkably, was followed by dates. Go figure.)

Later, eye surgery gave me the freedom to go prescription-free; it was incredible to wake up in the morning able to read the alarm clock! Ironically, eight years later my eyes started to change again. If you’re over forty you know what I mean. And that eventually took me back to square one and glasses 24/7. Continue reading

Life Is Short

clockReflections on The Schopenhauer Cure
by Irvin D. Yalom

The Schopenhauer Cure is a novel about the inner workings of a group therapy process. As the story begins to unfold, Julius Hertzfeld, a seasoned therapist, has received a diagnosis of terminal melanoma and is compelled to invite a former client named Philip to join his weekly group. It is a book rich with psychological and philosophical reflections about the circle of life, an appropriate theme for a novel about group therapy since group therapy mirrors life…the cycle of group, its dynamics, the termination of the group process, and the personal growth that can be multiplied through the members’ ongoing circles of influence when the group disbands.

I found it rather ironic that the theme of The Schopenhauer Cure was death and dying. For the past couple of years the subject of death has been weighing more heavily on my mind. Heading towards sixty is sobering in and of itself, for sure. Life no longer stretches ahead indefinitely. “Seen from the standpoint of youth, life is an endlessly long future; from that of old age it resembles a very brief past.” (Yalom, quoting Schopenhauer in Chapter 34.) Continue reading

Moving Rocks

I’ve always wondered about that stoning thing in the Bible. I mean, how did it actually work? It doesn’t seem realistic that a person would just stand there and wait for the rocks to pummel them. Wouldn’t they try to run away? Would the stoners have to get a couple of big guys to hold onto the stonee? If so, then how did they avoid injury?

Going to church all my life, I’ve probably heard twenty sermons about the woman caught in “the act” and brought before Jesus to be stoned. Preachers tended to skip over the adultery part though and just focus on Jesus doodling in the dirt with his finger. The more daring ones might have speculated on what He could have written. Details of the accusers’ sins? Perhaps a list of the ones who had enjoyed this woman’s pleasures themselves? Their near-carnal hypothesizing tended to diminish the interaction between Jesus and the woman, yet that’s where I find a real treasure. It’s a story of forgiveness and love – love in action.The kind that extends beyond saying the right words to a practical, make-a-difference kind of love. Continue reading