It's Monday afternoon, and as I prepare for an experiment that starts tomorrow, I am listening to our wedding on my Iphone. Tears are brimming at my eyes, and it's not because of the vows (although they are wonderful), or the memory of that day (although it is the BEST day of my life), it's at the voice of my Papa.
You see, the man that married me is the rock of our familiy. His voice has read the Christmas story until we grandkids were old enough to start reading it ourselves on Christmas day. When you stay at his house, he makes you coffee, kisses you goodnight, and if you "happen" to forget your pj's he always has a big T-shirt for you to sleep in. He knows not a stranger, and will always sing the "bad words" to any song. I have heard more versions of Zacchaeus than you can ever imagine. He loves my Gran. He brings her coffee just the way she likes it. He holds her hand. He kisses her (yes, in front of us). His faith is known. His life is not rushed. He enjoys his days. When you are with him, you know his attention is on you, and he is focused on the relationship he has with you. All of this you can learn in the first hour you are with him. But there is so much more to his story.
He's a cancer survivor. On all accounts, he should not be alive. With stage four melanoma when I was just two, I shouldn't remember him. But instead of a distant memory of a man I wish I had met, he is at the forefront of my mind when it comes to family. But if you meet him, he probably won't tell you about this. Not a complaint comes out of his mouth.
His life is not about his cancer, although in that there is the most powerful story I know of a big God saving and redeeming a man time and time again. His life is about God and family. He has an attitude of prayer and faith in his life that pours onto all of those around him. Just a phone call or a few minutes with Papa can change your whole day. He has made the traditions and memories that will last my entire lifetime. When at our wedding he said "Remember, the memories you make now will be the foundations you build upon later in life" I knew he was speaking from experience.
Our families (Samuel's and mine) are families of faith. Our men are men of integrity. Our women are loving, self-sacrificing mothers. Our family has built a rich heritage for us to stand upon. As we daily strive to follow the example of our Savior and our family, we remember the words of Papa, " Remember well to put Christ in our living so that He becomes Lord of your life."
But even if we can't live up to the example Papa has set, we hope to get "close enough."