"I Miss My Dad"
I miss my dad. He died in 2006 after 12 years of struggling with ALS. I miss the advice. I miss his toothy smile. I miss the way he pushed me (sort of). I miss witnessing the ways he worked to help people take their next step in life professionally and personally. I miss his syntax, (especially the parenthetical parts). I really would have like to watch him see his grandson graduate from Davidson last month. I miss him just because he was my dad.
It is kind of weird being back home in Charlotte and not having him here, but it is always nice when someone I’ve just met shares fond memories of him with me of his work at the bank, at church, on the School Board, or in the community. It happens a lot. He loved this city and being back in it makes my Father’s Day remembrances hit a little closer this year. I’m using his life as a sermon illustration this Sunday. We’ll see if I can get all the way through it! (If I don’t and have to quit before the end, that’s OK. The sermon last week was really long and I owe the great folks at Sardis Pres. some of their time back.)
I am thankful for all of the caregivers, doctors, and nurses who gave dad the tools, help, and health that his own strength of will needed to turn a 20 month prognosis into a dozen extra years of being Dad to me and PopPop to my sons. I am also thankful for chief caregiver Neil Cottrell and his work with the Joe Martin ALS Foundation as they work to provide families with the same hope-inducing blessings the Martins had.
The thing that has really been on my mind is this: I wonder what Dad would have had to say about the issues of race and economic stratification with which Charlotte is dealing today. It is hard to know because his wisdom usually came from an unpredictable angle. I wonder what he would have encouraged me to say and to do. However, while I wonder what he would have to say about the issues of race in 2018, I do not have to wonder what he would have said in 1997. Here it is: Joe Martin 1997 UrbanLeague Speech. (Skip past the invocation by the kid who still has all that hair to the 25 minute mark to get to the beginning of Dad’s speech.)
I miss you, Dad. I think your city does, too.
One more thing. Happy Father’s Day, Pat! You are the best step-father and step-grandfather anyone could hope for.
It is good to be home and God is good.