Sunday, June 19, 2005

Dear Dad,

When I was young you decided that I needed to collect stamps. Sean and Corey collected baseball cards and coins and I think that you wanted to find something that you and I could do together so you asked me if I would like to collect stamps. I said yes, more for the time with you than the actual stamps. So you bought this massive book and ordered these “grab-bags” of stamps that we proceeded to look up on the book and paste to the appropriate page. I don’t recall how long it lasted, not long I’m sure, but it’s funny how something like that takes space in my memory.

You see, from that day on I have still been collecting stamps, just a different kind. I have been collecting memories that have been stamped on my heart of the things you have done with and for me, your daughter. I do not hesitate to say that I am your favorite daughter, because I am your only daughter…and I don’t hesitate to say that I am spoiled, because, well, I am your only daughter. But, I also know that you are my favorite father and not because you are my only father because my father could have been anyone and that is my first stamp. You chose to love me not because you had to but because you wanted to love me.

My next stamp is the picture I have of a man that nobody else knows. I always think it’s funny when I hear other people describe you…they use word like: “intense,” “quiet,” “stern,” “straight-forward,” “conservative.” While you are all of these things, they are only the smallest part of who you are to me. When I think of you these are the words stamped into my heart: “gentle,” “loving,” “funny,” “holy,” “godly.”

Pictures of you in my mind are of you playing charades, working outside (risking your life), healing illness, praying in earnest, telling a story, giving us facts and information that come out of the blue, your childish smirk. I remember when I turned 13 years old and you took me on a real “date” to the Strawberry Mansion and gave me a (small) diamond ring to wear to remind me to stay pure until I was married. You gave me morals and ideals and the tools to stick with my convictions.

Other memories I have are of you coming to my volleyball or basketball, or plays, or whatever I was into at any age. You made my lunches until I was married and moved out of the house. Did I ever say thank you? Thank you. You walked me down an aisle twice…becoming a young woman in society and then becoming a wife. You helped deliver my two girls and make sure they are safe and well and growing and strong. You have seen me through the good and the bad of boyfriends and through the relationship that led to my husband for who you were my example.

Above all this is the stamp that is most important and most precious. You have shown me what it is to be a man after God’s own heart. Your family is a reflection of your love for your Father and your devotion to Him.

And so I may not have a book full of expensive collector stamps, but I have a heart that is overflowing with something priceless. Thank you and I love you.