Today is Father’s Day. This is my daddy, whom I have written about often. We had 17 years together. I’ve had 50 years of life beyond those 17 years. Without him. Do I miss him, even 50 years later? Well, yes.
Here is a summary of the things I recall doing with my dad, and what he taught me:
- Fishing. A lot. River fishing, pond fishing.
- Woodworking in his shop and in various homes where he and I installed cabinets he had built. Uh, the “I” part of that sentence involved mainly holding the other end of stuff while he used tools, etc., to finish the installation. But he made me feel like a significant part of the project.
- Playing catch with a softball. He taught me how to turn the ball glove in the right position to catch any ball. He taught me how to throw the ball accurately enough that he didn’t need to dive to catch it. He was close to 60 years old, for crying out loud. AND he was a below-the-knee amputee with a prosthesis on one leg. Diving to catch a ball was not a real good idea. Amputee or not, he gave me his all when it came to physical activity, whether playing catch or climbing up/down a muddy river bank.
- How to play double six dominoes at a very young age. And 7-point pitch card game. This was the staple of entertainment in the Krisher home. TV reception was hit or miss on the 3 available stations. Playing games was the deal.
- How to drive. I learned on his prize possession, 1948 Chevrolet pickup. 3-speed on the column. And then later the powder blue 1963 Chevrolet Belair (or was it an Impala?) car with AUTOMATIC transmission.
- He taught me that he loved my mom. When she took a pay job outside the home, he taught me to do laundry because Mom worked long hours helping him provide financially for our family. He also encouraged me to cook for the same reason. The cooking thing for me was just trial and error self-taught. Though I could tell a few humorous stories about his failed cooking attempts. And mine.
- He loved to hear me play the piano. And he loved to force unsuspecting visitors at our home to listen to me play.
Things my dad didn’t do: teach me about Jesus.
But this brings me to the reason for the title of this blog post. The one best thing.
Daddy was diagnosed with lymphocytic leukemia when I was 15 and he was 62. Mom, and my sister Wilma, had always been the spiritual influence in our home although we never attended church as a family. But after dad’s diagnosis one of his co-workers visited him at our home, along with that co-worker’s pastor, Ed Bateman, from the Community Bible Church. Dad made a decision to accept Jesus’ gift of salvation during that visit. Dad told us about his decision, and around that same time he started attending the Nazarene Church with me from time to time. My brother-in-law was the pastor. Of everything on the list of “things I recall” about my dad, this was the one thing that meant the most to me. It was an answer to a prayer I’d been praying since age 8 when I accepted Christ and was baptized.
This period of time was so very brief, though. He only lived two years after his diagnosis and much of that time he was weak and ill. In retrospect, I treasure the memories of sitting by my dad in the old church pew. Seriously, what a sweet experience, what a gift for me and my dad, even if so very brief!
Dad never taught me about Jesus. He didn’t read the Bible to me. He didn’t take me to Sunday School or VBS. He didn’t really even speak much about his experience of accepting Jesus as his savior. But it was real, I have no doubt. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, believe with your heart that Jesus died and rose from the grave to everlasting life, and you will be saved, according to Romans 10:9. Just. That. Simple.
That “one best thing” led to eternity in Heaven for my dad. Healing in Jesus’ arms, no more pain or illness.
And it made possible a reunion one day that will most definitely be THE best thing forever.
Happy Heavenly Father’s Day, Daddy.