My Father, My Hero
Yesterday morning, my dad got the phone call that his brother Jack had passed away.
There are certain life events that stop you in your tracks, death being the most devastating. Uncle Bub, as we all called him, had dealt with intestinal tumors for many years, and finally the doctors had decided to take out one of his kidneys and ureter (the little tube that runs from your kidney to the bladder). He had the surgery late last week and on Monday the doctor told him he was well enough to go home. Tuesday morning he had a massive heart attack and died.
But oddly enough, this blog isn’t about Uncle Jack. We are heartbroken that he is gone, but at least he’s gone Home. There were many years where that wouldn’t have been the case. So we are heartbroken, but assured of his place with God. This blog is about my dad.
My dad is the most amazing person I know.
My dad wakes up most mornings at 3:30am to get up and get work done for the business he owns. Our business exists so that my dad can afford to be a full-time minister. Unfortunately, that means my dad works two full-time jobs. And anybody that works in the ministry knows that church work is always more than a full-time job. It is a way of life.
After he works on sales proposals or marketing plans for the business, he heads into Long Beach to be at Westside by 9:00. He is there until 2:00, meeting with staff, handling church business, and doing his best to keep his finger on the pulse of the congregation. He usually is unable to do any work on his sermon at church, choosing instead to study and write his sermons early in the morning or late at night, usually finishing it on Saturday night.
When he leaves the church at 2:00, he heads into our office in Anaheim to do more work, both for church and for the business. Sometimes he’ll find a “secret, undisclosed location” usually a Starbucks or someplace that has Wi-fi, and he’ll work there in order to work uninterrupted.
Then he comes home and has dinner with me and my mom. He’s usually so tired that he heads off to bed around 9:30. Only to get up 6 or 7 hours later and do it all again. And all he asks in return? 1) Monday night is bowling night. 2) If he can’t watch the Charger game (or the Padre game), he’s TiVOing it. Don’t even HINT to him what the score might be. He will watch it later. 3) Let him enjoy his jacuzzi tub in peace.
When my uncle Jeff struggled with cancer, my dad ran Uncle Jeff’s business and helped my aunt Donna and cousins Bill and Brandi deal with taking care of him. When my uncle Jeff died, my dad drove out to Vegas in the middle of the night to be there and help with arrangements. My dad preached at my uncle’s funeral, even though he himself was heartbroken at the death of his closest brother.
Prior to Uncle Jack, this year alone, the Westside extended family has had 6 deaths. Now with the 7th being his oldest brother, my dad will do for our family what he’s done for so many other families. He will comfort, he will pray, he will grieve alongside. And he will offer the hope and peace that is found at Jesus feet. In essence, he will be God with skin on to people who need to see it.
My dad is incredibly smart. He teaches me so much every day. I wish you could sit in the car with us when we commute together to staff meetings. The amount of wisdom that rests within him is incredible. And not just esoteric head knowledge. He is a practical man, full of practical applications of the spiritual truths he espouses. He is hilarious. He is patient (even when he doesn’t seem all that patient, trust me, he is!). He loves not only his family, but he loves his God and he loves his church. There is not a day that goes by that he doesn’t go out of his way for someone else. For goodness sakes, the man takes his laptop on vacation so he can make sure he’s available in case anyone needs him!
My dad has his faults. He wouldn’t be human if he didn’t. He doesn’t always hit the mark, but he is always trying. While I am pretty sure that I haven’t adequately explained what an incredible man he is or why I admire him so much, I will still ask for you to pray for him.
Pray for him every day. For some of you, he is your Pastor, your Shepherd. For other’s, he’s your friend. For some of you, he is your friend’s dad. And for the rest of us, he’s family. In whatever way you know or know of my dad, please pray for him, particularly this week.
Services for my uncle Jack will be held Monday in Santa Maria. My aunt Mindy, cousin Chad, grandma Jane, aunt Jan, uncle Bruce, cousins Bill, Stacey, Brandi and Rose, mom Karen, amazing dad Jay and I really covet and appreciate your prayers.
Much love and many thanks,