My dad had a lot of quirks. I grew up in the midst of his idiosyncrasies and often simply ‘observed’. He passed away just a few years after my son had.
When I went to see the movie: ‘A Beautiful Mind’, I wept. I could see a bit of my dad in John Nash. My dad had been a Lieutenant Detective which was a gift for me in many ways. In particular, it placed me on an insatiable quest for Truth. He worked two full time jobs (along with a 12 hr. day as a butcher on Saturdays with his dad who was also an officer) which gave me the relentlessness to accomplish things and be productive. His second career was that of a Teacher. Not just any teacher, mind you. This man taught 18 subjects at a private High School for all boys, including Latin and German. He was brilliant in Mathematics and described as: ‘prolific’ in many fields. He had been in the 1st graduating class of a renown University. Having survived the Depression, having paid his full tuition by working, he graduated with a 4 point GPA. He was a gifted teacher. His motto was that if a student was not learning or grasping a concept, the fault lied with him and his teaching skills, not in the student.
The man was brilliant.
At the same time, he taught me that ‘a man’ puts on his trousers, one leg at a time. Often, I would accompany him to a luncheon with the Mayor, Chief of Police, a Judge, etc. After the luncheon, he would use the experience as a teaching moment for me. He was a very humble man and respectful man who always addressed others as: Sir or Ma’am. I also learned the ‘dark side’ that often accompanies such a mind of Genius. It’s as if some of God’s beautiful children are created with an ‘extra scoop of ice cream’ in one area, while coming up short in another. The movie: ‘Rain Man’ comes to mind. The scales are imbalanced.
We tend to think of such as shortcomings. But are they? True, if we only view the imbalance, we may see it that way. But…personally, I have learned to marvel at the almost insufferable beauty innate in such a creation.
Because my parents divorced when I was 10, and my dad had custody of me, I would often be dragged out of bed in the middle of the night to accompany him when he was called in to the Station to resolve an issue, or simply write out a report. Mostly, I learned to sleep on the hard wooden bench in front of the Sarge’s desk as criminals often paraded by. However, some nights he would take me downstairs past the jail cells and into a broom closet of an office. Upon a small wooden table sat a typewriter on which he would clink away, one finger…one key…at a time. A typist I am not, as a result.
He would suddenly spontaneously crack up laughing. When I asked: “What’s so funny?” He would explain that the ‘imbeciles’ upstairs weren’t going to be able to comprehend a word of his report. It’s how my dad got his ‘kicks’…and also a bit of revenge for being called into work in the middle of the night simply to type up a report. The words he used are not even found in today’s vocabulary and dictionaries. They have become obsolete. Two things I developed from this: 1-I grow impatient with repeatedly hearing words used that are adjectives, when they should be using adverbs. Even commercials on TV frequently use improper language. I admit hearing such affects me like that ‘Fork on a Chalkboard’. The other downside is that it gave me what I term an: ‘Archie Bunker Complex’. I have a tendency to ‘twist’ the spoken word, resulting in a word that is the combination of 2. Or, I will simply cross-wires and use a word entirely different than what was intended. This has led to a few quite embarrassing moments. The written word gives me time to contemplate.
So, I write.
My dad was far from perfect. He had a very successful life and was highly respected ‘out in the world’. He had the privilege of teaching those who later became Judges and Bishops, some two generations. At times, I have met peers who were taught by my dad. Their praise and respect for the man was always undeniable. They never referred to him without the ‘Mr.’. On top of all these qualities, he was a reasonably known tennis player and a fairly good basketball player. When I had the opportunity to attend a game, the crowd would stand and cheer when my dad appeared on the court. Once, his picture covered two-thirds of the front page of a major city’s newspaper after he alone walked into the center of some riots taking place, unarmed, and simply began talking with the rioters which led to an end of the rioting.
On the other side, he could be abusive in his marriage, with his children, and had few very close real friends throughout his 86 years. Intimate relations was his greatest shortcoming.
I prefer to focus on his achievements which were numerous. I prefer to, I choose to, focus on his greater qualities.
2 Corinthians 5:
“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.”
We are encouraged to not see man’s raunchiness. We are taught in Gen. not to look upon another’s nakedness (Gen. 9:22). This goes much deeper than the physical. There is a time and place to expose, but we must balance that with the Wisdom that ‘Love covers a multitude of sins’ (1 Pet. 4:8; Prov. 10:12).
It is my Hope and prayer that such qualities emanate from me. I know I often fall short and am saddened and seek forgiveness when I do…hopefully. ‘I am a perfect human being; I make mistakes’. But I prefer to be hidden in Christ, get out of His way, so that the perfect Fruit of His Spirit ensues. I don’t want ‘me’ to be seen, oh wretched woman that I am…but rather Christ be Who folks remember when they think of me.
May it be so, dear Lord.
(For you, dad. In spite of it all, I Love you and I thank you!)
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/2017/03/the-pain-of-holidays-after-the-loss-of-loved-ones/
Please help spread the word…TY!!! (((HUGS)))