Friday, March 30, 2007

My Hero

My dad's birthday was last week. For the first time I can remember, we didn't celebrate it on March 22nd. This was because Allison and I were at Godspell that night, he was working through some complicated situations at work, and in reality none of us had seen each other for any significant amount of time in about two weeks. So we decided to postpone it for a week and celebrate on Wednesday night, the only night when I didn't have rehearsal.

It was a wonderful feeling to sit back, relax, and honor my dad by just being with him and talking with him. That got me thinking, and today I thought I would honor my dad in public. I want the world to know what a great man he is.

One of the most important things about him is his love for God and his Word. Every time when we're walking through conflict, he is able to pull out a Scripture that perfectly applies to the situation at hand. He loves to spend his time in God's Word, sometimes hours just sitting and reading and meditating and praying. He has always been an example to me in this area, and I can only hope that one day I will have as much Scripture treasured up in my heart as he does.

He is one of the wisest people I know. There have been so many times when he has sat down with me for hours at a time to walk me through this sin issue or that struggle. I'm a very logical person who has to see all sides of the issue before I'll admit to something, so time and time again we would talk through "Okay, what were your heart motives there? How could that be considered a sin? etc." Through it all he would be kind but firm, helping me to see my sin and put it to death. He has the ability to ask questions that move beyond the surface and get straight to the heart. So much of what I've learned about viewing life through a biblical lens I learned from him.

He has very high standards, especially when it comes to entertainment. Throughout my childhood he watched what came into our house very closely. We didn't have TV when I was little because of this, and so the only shows we watched were Wishbone and Magic School Bus on PBS. Although back then I didn't like it too much, today I am so greatful that we are not a TV family. Today we have cable, but it almost never comes on. Instead, we sit in the living room and talk and laugh. The only exception is every Sunday afternoon between September and December when we order buffalo wings and watch the Redskins game on FOX. But even that is a family activity that we all do together, and just enjoy each other's company (hopefully next year we'll also be able to enjoy a winning season, too, but I'll take the family). He never wanted the TV to be something that's always on in the background, and it's not. And personally, I feel we are a stronger family for it.

The family is his top priority. Dinner is one of the most special times of the day because he has always made it a point to be home for dinner. We spend an average of half-an-hour sitting at the table as a family, and we have had so many amazing conversations because of that. He works hard 24-7 to provide for us and yet still manages to make it home for dinner almost every night. It's one of those small things that makes a world of difference in how a family lives together, and we owe it to him making it a priority.

He still loves his mom and his brothers and sisters. He calls my grandma at least once a week to talk, and will talk for hours. His brothers are his best friends, and he talks to them all the time as well. People like to give horror stories about their extended families, but I've never been able to identify, because my extended family is wonderful, and my dad has always made sure that we get to see them relatively often.

He's one of the hardest workers I know. He carries a lot of stress at work as co-owner of his company, but I never hear him complain. I don't know how he does it, but when he starts something he always finishes it. I've learned so much from him, and although my work ethic still needs work, I wouldn't even have one if it wasn't for his amazing example.

One of the most amazing things about him is that, even though he's always under so much stress, he still is one of the most fun-loving people I know. His sense of humor is hysterical (and I inherited it to a large degree), and there's nothing he loves better than to play with his kids. When we were little he wrestled, now he plays football or even Ghost Recon with us, but he just loves to have fun with his family.

We are two very different people. We look pretty similar, and we have the same sense of humor, but I am your poster student, and he is your poster outdoorsman. He was a biology major; I want to be a history major. My favorite activities are reading and blogging; his favorite activities are hunting, fishing, and camping. We are so dissimilar in so many ways, but he still takes an interest in the things that I do. He embraces me for who I am and doesn't try to make me into a miniature version of himself. He supports me in all my pursuits and loves to see me succeed.

He loves my mom more than any other person on earth. The two of them are just as in love with each other as the day they got married, maybe more so. In him I have the image of a wonderful husband, one who loves, leads, respects, and supports his wife with all of his heart.

He has this amazing talent for talking to people. It doesn't matter who the person is, he can start a conversation with them and within ten minutes know their whole background and possibly their life story, and then he finds ways to witness to them, reach out to them, and become their friend. It doesn't surprise me that for fifteen years he worked as a salesman, and an amazing one at that (he won Top Performer for Abbott Labs several times, and even won a trip to Puerto Rico). He's helped me gain some of his skills, although I'm still a far-cry from a good conversationalist. But I'm learning, and I have some amazing help.
He and my mom love opening up our home. One year for Christmas dinner we invited a Taiwanese family that we met through an immersion program at Montgomery College. We're still friends with the family to this day. Another year we invited some people over for Easter dinner from church. One was a single lady that my dad had met while ushering who was new to the church. The other was a lady we met in church that morning and who was sitting right in front of us. When he discovered that she didn't have anywhere to go for Easter, he invited her over. Last summer there was a desparate call for help from the Pastor's College: one of the students was moving down with his family, but the house they were going to live in was not ready for them yet. With barely a second thought, he and my mom opened up their home, even though it was during one of the busiest times of our lives when he was just returning from a fishing trip to Canada with my brothers and my mom and sister were leaving for France for two weeks (not to mention I was gone somewhere or other). The Kurtzs became close friends, and we are still in touch with them. I've learned so much about sacrificial giving at home from him.

Probably my favorite memory of us so far was the weekend when he surprised me for my 16th birthday and took me up to New York City. We took the city by storm, watching two Broadway shows (The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera) and seeing most of the major sights in just two days. We just had a blast being together and seeing the city on our own.

I can only hope that one day I am half the man he is. We've had our disagreements and conflicts, we have different interests in a lot of things, but there is no other man I would rather have for my father. Dad, I love you, and I hope that we'll have another 45 years together to glory in God's goodness together.


Andrew said...

Tremendous tribute, Sam. Wonderful highlight of God's grace in Dad and in your family.

Karyn said...

Sam, that is such a powerful testimony to the influence of a man of God. I don't even know your Dad, but just reading about him has ispired me to seek after God even more.

And you two do look alike!

Karyn said...

oh, I forgot why I was over here in the first place, can I put your blog on my favorite blogs list? I didn't want to without asking you first. thanks

Tracy said...

Boy, I wish I could marry someone like that! Oh! I did! What a perfect tribute Sam. love you, Mom

Stacey said...

that was very good sam!

Gma said...

Oh my Sam! My thoughts exactly! You know how I adore, admire and love him.You have given him a well-deserved tribute. What a birthday present! Love, Gma