Have I ever introduced you to my father?
We don't look much alike. I'm skinny and have a large beard. He's stocky, but he also had a beard from time to time.
My dad played football in high school. He always told me that he remembered playing against Barry Sanders. He never claimed to have actually tackled him, though. Meanwhile, I bowled, sang, and volunteered my time left and right throughout high school.
Personally, my faith has been a lot like a pendulum throughout my life. Back and forth, to and fro. My dad's faith? It would be a lot more comparable to sky-diving - all or nothing.
And this is how he lived much of his life. He either jumped out of the plane, or he was flying it himself. His passion for life was one of his redeeming qualities, though it was often overshadowed by his flaws.
Even though he was often misguided, my dad was the poster child for living life "to the fullest." He was almost always smiling, and his laugh was infectious - one of those sounds you had to smile at when you heard it. He always had new jokes up his sleeve and was always listening for more. And here we see our lives intersect.
I try to be a poster child for getting the most out of life. I run a blog about living life to the fullest, after all. And since my wife taught me to laugh many years ago, I often laugh too loud, too often. I'm similar to my dad in that.
And you know, we also both suffer from chronic illness. My dad's was mental, and mine is physical. But that never stopped him from living, and it sure won't stop me either.
We also bonded over our love for American football and all things to do with the Kansas City Chiefs. I remember one Thanksgiving when we just sat together in my grandparent's living room watching a game together that neither of us particularly cared about. I'm almost positive that we both fell asleep. But still, he thanked me for sitting with him that day. I also remember the pre-season game he took me to when I was younger, and then the playoff game he somehow got tickets for when I was a teenager. Unforgettable memories, to say the least.
I'd also like to think that I got part of my "smarts" from my dad. He was good with his hands - he could figure out just about anything with relative ease and quickness. And even though he never taught me any of his tricks, I'm finding that my hands are already familiar with many of them. I was never taught to be handyman, but maybe he knew he didn't need to teach me - I already was as his son.
And while he didn't finish high school, he was still very smart. He was one of those types of people who knew things that nobody else does (or even cares to know, really). And as I grow older, I find myself reflecting that - always telling people things they didn't want to or need to know. Which is why I blog, I suppose.
My dad was a thrill-seeker. And even though my body limits me, I am too. One quick look at my Bucket List will tell you that. I can't wait to get a chance to sky-dive or bungee jump. And though I never saw him do either of those things, I'm sure my dad would've been the first one to jump with me.
And at my dad's funeral, one thing was clear - his love for his family was paramount. And until that day, two weeks before I left for college, I didn't understand that love. It wasn't until it was gone and I had a chance to feel it missing that I realized what my dad's number one passion was: us - his kids, his family, his pride and joy.
And even though my dad was buried that day, I couldn't allow death to take him away. I had to keep a piece of him with me. So I snuck a lump of his love and mixed it with a portion of his passion. I resolved to keep my father alive as long as it was within my ability to do so. But, even if you visit my hometown today, you can see his face on his tombstone, with his body buried beneath.
Did I fail?
Over the last 4 years, as I've learned to live life without a father. I've struggled, fallen, and utterly failed at times. But I've done so with passion. I've done so with gusto. I've done so with love. And so I never failed at all. Never even a little bit.
You see, even though I've never introduced you to my father, you've met him. He lives in me through my unbridled love for my family. Through my passion for life and for getting the most out of every single second I have. Through my ridiculous obsession over a football team who, in the grand scheme of things, doesn't matter.
Sure, my dad and I don't seem much alike at first glance. But when you break me open and peer into my spirit, you see him alive and kicking, laughing, yelling, and having an all-around good time. He was never gone - not even for a second.
You may have never met my father, who I lost entirely too soon, but you've met me. And even though I'd never admit it to him (nor he to me), we're one in the same.
I've never introduced you to my father, but even if I did, you'd probably say, "Oh, sure, we've met before!" And he'd laugh, with his all-too-cheesy grin, and agree.
... ... ...
Questions: What people have made a lasting impact on your life? Who lives in you that may not be physically alive today? How can you make the most of the moments you have with your loved ones this week?
Did you enjoy this post? If so, I'd appreciate you subscribing to Life Before the Bucket and sharing it with your friends. Thanks a million for reading!