My Dad’s Not Perfect

Now this is probably the first and only time you’ll ever hear me admit that in this life, because I’ve always seen my dad as just about as perfect as a person can get. I vividly remember an event when I was about 14 years old that showed me just a glimpse of my own perception of my father. A young guy who was working for my father on a project, started complaining to a group of us teens one evening, not knowing that I was his “boss’s” daughter. When he had the gall to make some sarcastic remark about “Chuck”, I almost lost it! I couldn’t keep quiet and neither could my sister. I wasn’t the kind to blow up or anything, but I could slice someone apart pretty quickly with a few well-placed words or phrases. And my sister and I were an unstoppable duo in that department. In no uncertain terms we let this young man know that talking about our dad in any uncomplimentary way would not be tolerated! He was awesome and if there was a problem on the job it was clearly the kid’s fault not our father’s. Later  another adult recounted the story and the boy’s comment, “I guess you don’t mess with  the Marshall girls’ dad.”That’s right,I thought. You’d better not.

Recently I was recounting a story of my childhood to Roman, about how my dad taught me to water ski. Now I was anything but graceful and water skiing was not a sport that came easily to me. I was about 10 years old and most of the other kids in my class could ski already. Most of the kids in the boarding house where my parents were houseparents learned easily under my father’s direction. Not me. Week after week, we went out to practice, and week after week I failed. Now my father’s patience wore thin, and I remember his frustration as time after time I would lose hold of the rope, or a ski would fall off or my leg would get stuck with the ski going the wrong direction. So many things to control and remember! And I wasn’t good at it, to say the least. Well Dad had about given up on me when he asked a friend of his who had kids close to my age, to come along and try to help me learn to ski.  This gave me hope that skiing would finally be among the skills I could claim. Alas, the afternoon was mostly spent in frustration again. My dad had tried so hard to help me learn to ski and I had failed! He was irritated and I was disappointed. I don’t remember how it happened but I did eventually learn to ski and could even slalom in high school.  I know my dad didn’t give up on me, even when I kind of wished he would. And his tenacity is something I emulate today.

As I told this story to Roman I vividly remembered my Dad’s frustration. And somehow that memory was actually a comfort. The realization that my dad isn’t perfect, that he had moments of irritation, and was short with me as a child, filled my heart with confidence and hope, that God uses the weak things of this world. My dad’s imperfections remind me that we are all human. That I will lose my cool with my kids sometimes. That God not only forgives, He grows–me, my kids, my family. He builds character into us through the imperfections of others. God has amazing way of using us, even with our frailties.

My dad’s not perfect. But he’s about as close as any human can be. And the best part about Dad, is that my relationship with him makes me love my heavenly Father more. Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you.

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