For some odd reason, I was picked as the one to speak at my dad's funeral, to stand in the same spot where less than two years before I had read 1 Cor 13 for my father's wedding. Both my sister and my step sister had also written things to say, but asked if I would read for them, as God had given me a wonderful grace this week of, at least publicly, keeping it together for my family (although, feel free to hug me if ya see me, 'cause boy do I need it!).
While I do generally have to do a lot of speaking, it is more face to face, as I gave up carrying around a podium years ago (back problems, don'tcha know), so when I spoke it was not as loud as some of my hearing deprived elders would have liked (if my dad was able, he woulda yelled "speak up", as I had heard him done to quite a few pastors in my time). So my aunt asked me to write it up for her, and I thought I'd post it here as well.
I greet you as "friends" because that is exactly how my dad greeted everyone. He may not have said those words, preferring possibly the "heh, hon" of most Bawlmer raised folks, but he did treat everyone he met as "friend", regardless of the fact he would also, as most of his generation did, aknowledge the person's ethnic background (O:
Myself, being a kid who grew up in the 70s, and who watched way too much television (no Facebook yet), I was taught through that silly lil' box that fathers always say "I Love you". So as I grew up, I whined with so many of my contemporaries that "my dad never said I Love You", helping to make pop psychologists and Oprah rich beyond measure.
As I got older, and was given the gift of faith in my Heavenly Father, I started to see all the times my father did indeed say those words, now that God had given my "eyes to hear".
The first time, and every time after, that my dad tanned my chubby tush for crossing the street or spanked me dizzy the time I was five and tried to drive his car, he was saying "I Love You"
When every boy my sister brought home was treated to a reenactment of the Spanish Inquisition, dad was telling her "I Love You"
When, after my mom deserted us, he still invited both sides of the family for our annual 4th of July cookout, regardless of how painful it was to him, he was saying "I Love You"
When my brother's path had lead him into a little trouble, and my pop kinda forced him into the Navy, he was painfully saying "I Love You"
In the years he was left to raise four kids, one with special needs, but never ever said a bad thing about the woman who left him, he was saying to us "I Love You"
When he tried repeatedly to talk me out of pursuing art as a career, so I would have a stable job, and the time I caught him bragging to a woman about "his son" at one of my openings, he was saying loudly "I Love You"
When we saw him visit his twin sister in her nursing home, every single Sunday for years, on his only day off
and when we watched him dutifully and daily care for my sister Colleen, who not only has Downs but is also diabetic, he was not only saying "I love you", but also teaching us to live it.
Thank you dad, we hope we can speak "I Love You" as loudly as you did!"
I than read the below quotes from C.S. Lewis and Andrew Peterson, as well as what my sisters had asked me to read.
Please continue your prayers for my dad, Richard, and for our family, especially my stepmom Dottie,
thanks and God bless,