Father, Dad, Papa

Father, Dad, Papa. Photo by Derek Thomson.
Father, Dad, Papa. Photo by Derek Thomson.

Father, Dad, Papa—one of the most commonly uttered words but less frequently acknowledged.

Undisputedly, Moms nurture and protect their children in every way, while Dads are equally indispensable. There are countless remarkable things our fathers do for us but we tend to depreciate them often. We are grateful to have an earthly father who loved us unconditionally during his lifetime. My Dad was not perfect, but he modeled a kind and selfless father. He was not arrogant nor condescending; I respected and loved him growing up. The way he nurtured us reflects God’s love to His children.

He was a proud father

I was the youngest in the brood that’s why he would tag me along wherever he went. I can vividly recall that proud look on his face whenever he shared about his children’s achievements to other people.

He was a good provider

Dad raised us alone. He worked hard to provide for us. I know it was hard for him to take care of our needs, to look after us when we’re sick, to attend PTA meetings alone, and be the Mom he could ever be. He did other jobs and side businesses to provide for us.

He taught us social and business skills

He was the darling of the crowd and did well in business. It cannot be denied that we inherited not an ounce but most of it. He could have run for President!

He was generous

One of my Dad’s traits is generosity. Even if we do not have enough, he would still extend part of it to the needy. When we were young, people would visit him at home bringing chickens, bananas, and fruits as gifts. Even family and friends affirmed that we’ve had the most generous parents. Generosity is a selfless act without expecting anything in return. It is an act of service to others.

He taught me the importance of excellence

Excellence, not only in academics but life in general. He said, “Excel and keep your values intact.”

He taught me about forgiveness

When my parents separated, we were left in his care. I never heard him talk bad things about Mom. Instead, he would share good stories from the past. If he can forgive, why can’t we?

He loved sending letters and cards

When he was far from us, he would send letters and cards to check on us and reassure us of his love. Engaged fathers do not stop caring and loving. They would find thousand creative ways to show the depth of their love even miles away. Our love for writing we got from him!

He would constantly interrogate about love life

He constantly reminded me to study first. He said love will come knocking later in my life.

He taught me to deal with devastating loss and heartache

My greatest heartache was to watch him slowly decline right before my eyes. I spent my first few working years in planes, hospitals, clinics, and emergency rooms because he was in and out of the hospital due to an illness. I accompanied him during checkups and took long leaves during hospitalisations to ensure that he would receive the best care. The hardest part of this obstacle was when you knew deep in your heart that it was a race against time—only God knows when. God took him away after three agonizing years — and though our gracious God answered my prayers to take him away peacefully, this is and will always be the greatest heartache I will never fully recover from. It was traumatizing to see oxygen tanks, needles, catheters, tubes, that it took three years before I was able to set foot in any medical facility. It takes strength and courage to spring up from a devastating earthly loss.

I cannot explain the excruciating pain of his death but it was a bittersweet memory for me:

It was sweet, because I know I did everything I could to show him our love. I had that golden opportunity to spend time with him, read him the Bible, listen to music, and share Jesus. The night before he passed on Dad shared, “When I die, I know I am going to heaven with Jesus.” And up to this day, my father’s death reminds me that this world is not our home. We fervently look forward to our heavenly home.

On the other hand, I was slightly bitter because I could only wish for his presence beside me. Had this been the case then he would have enjoyed the rewards and sacrifices he deserved. He deserves not only good, but, the best life a selfless Dad could ever have!

He taught me to be brave. We walked his medical journey together and never once had I regretted it. I learned to be strong for him and face each unchartered territory with boldness.

In our insurmountable trials it will never be a bed of roses, but of thorns, too. Roses and thorns make a great partnership in polishing our character. So you see, God is letting us experience things outside our comfort zone so that we will deeply comprehend life’s purpose.

To our Padré, it’s been a decade celebrating Father’s Day without you. When I tell people you’re not here anymore, there is this sting in my heart that never goes away. God has been so good by allowing me to be a daughter to a kindhearted father. Your extraordinary soul is always remembered by those whose lives you touched. You are missed and loved every single day. Happy Father’s Day up there!

Happy Father’s Day to all wonderful Dads who are models of God’s fatherly excellence in their own homes. May He strengthen each one of you a hundredfold.

To the single moms who assumed dual roles in the family, today is your day warrior Momma! God sees all your sacrifices and will surely be rewarded someday. Keep the faith!

To the sons and daughters, I pray you will pursue intentional relationships with your Dads. Honor, appreciate, serve and love your parents. It is God’s desire for us to consistently respect, love and honor them, whether in close proximity or from a distance.

In case you may have been estranged from your Dad, I pray you will both find forgiveness and peace in your hearts, if not now — surely in God’s time. Always take heart that we have an Almighty Father who watches over us and who knows what is behind and what lies ahead. He is always with us!

Happy Father’s Day to all selfless Dads, and to each and every mother, sibling, extended parent, whose role is to embrace fatherhood! Only His grace enables!

A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. (Billy Graham)