06 Nov Words of Grace – Keeping Watch with My Father
I am keeping watch with my dying father. He is a man in Christ. Soon he will cross over and be safely home.
Like most men in this world, Kyle Richard Patty is unspectacular, unremarkable, and unlikely to be remembered as “the best.” In our day, being bland is almost a sin. We like to think and speak of ourselves with the grandiosity fit for celebrities. We all can do anything. Everyone is amazing. The worst thing in the world is not to be star. But being amazing probably never entered my father’s mind. I think he just wanted to take care of life’s basics. I think he aspired to be content.
So what can I say about my father?
He married my mother. I am grateful for this first because it meant I had a father and a mother, and also because I really loved my mother. She died at forty-five. The best thing my father ever did was to ask my mother to marry him.
He went to work. My father worked at a chemical plant, and sometimes took extra jobs to make ends meet. This is how he kept my siblings and me fed and clothed. One night when I was a teenager, I drove my father to work the third shift at 11:00pm. I still remember driving away and thinking to myself that this man was going to work and I was going to bed. That moment changed my life and shaped my work ethic.
He taught me how to shine my shoes. My father shined his shoes every Saturday night and so did I. He tied a perfect knot in his tie. His shirt was always tucked in. I can’t remember ever seeing him wrinkled. He did go through that 1970s phase, but no one’s perfect and he came to his senses. I am grateful.
He took me to church. The other great decision my father made was to join Park Avenue Baptist Church and take us every Sunday. I didn’t always appreciate this. I had a few rough years of rebellion. But in the good grace of God it was at this church that the gospel was preached, my heart was wonderfully made new by the Spirit, and Jesus became my Lord. Thank you, Father…thank you, dad!
Watching my father and writing these words makes me rethink my own aspirations. Today, taking care of the basics seems like an amazing thing to do.