"Daddy wasn't perfect."
That's what my sister and I kept telling ourselves (and each other) as we drove around town making arrangements for his funeral.
That was six months ago.
My sister and I are still reminding ourselves and each other that our dad wasn't perfect.
We don't have to, nor do we want to, pretend that our daddy was something he wasn't.
We don't want to remember a carricature of him, or a made-up fantasy, to meet our personal needs.
We just want to remember our daddy.
The way he was.
That's how love remembers.
What makes two daughters have to remind themselves that their eighty-nine-year-old dad wasn't perfect?
It wasn't like we didn't know him.
He didn't live across the country only to be seen once or twice a year.
We were both blessed to live close to him.
What makes my sister and me have to stop mid-sentence and say, "Daddy wasn't perfect?"
Daddy seemed perfect to us, because he knew he didn't have to be perfect.
He knew and trusted in The Perfect One.
Daddy seemed perfect to us, because he didn't expect us to be perfect.
He knew that his daughters and his grandchildren and his friends were just like him.
Made out of dust.
Daddy seemed perfect to us, because he didn't make any demands of my sister and me, his grandchildren, or his friends.
He appreciated everything anyone did for him, but he knew that we were all just the "means" God used to bless him with every gift.
If I came to see him every other week, that was okay with him.
If I came once a month, that was okay too.
The times when I couldn't come at all, he understood.
If I walked into his house with a pound cake, or a tin full of his favorite oatmeal cookies, or a roast in the crock-pot, he greeted me with a hug.
If I walked into his house with only my broken, tired, empty-handed self, he greeted me with the same hug.
Daddy knew that God would provide everything he would ever need.
Daddy seemed perfect to us, because he just took whatever love anyone had to give him.
He enjoyed it. He cherished it. But he didn't have to have it.
Daddy knew he was filled to the top with the perfect complete love of God Himself.
Love from others was just icing on a perfect cake.
Daddy seemed perfect to my sister and me, because he never reminded us of the many times we failed.
Did he approve of everything we did?
Did he let us know?
But Daddy never beat us up with our mistakes.
He never kept a list of our wrongs.
He just trusted that The One who paid the price for his sins had also paid the price for ours.
The first time Daddy saw Ethan after his life had been crushed by a horrible choice, he didn't ask,
"What was he thinking?"
He didn't blame me or remind me of my own poor choices.
He didn't believe as a grandpa he deserved better from Ethan or better from God.
The first day Dad stood beside Ethan's body in a lifeless coma, he said, "Mourning may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning."
Daddy seemed perfect to all who knew him, because he gave the same grace to them that God had given to him.
I shared with one of the ministers that spoke at Dad's funeral, and he in turned shared with those who were there, that my daddy was always a good man. God blessed him with wonderful parents that loved him, and taught him Godly morals and values. I believe that my daddy always had a good heart. But God, by my dad's faith in His Son, made my daddy great.
I had a great man for a dad.
Not a perfect man.
But a great man.
Sunday I found myself singing Matt Redmon's 10,000 Reasons.
As I sang the last verse, tears of gratitude began to flow.
"And on that day when my strength is failing,
The end draws near and my time has come,
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending,
Ten thousand years and then forevermore."
My dad is six-months into his ten-thousand-years-and-then-forevermore.
My daddy wasn't perfect.
But He is now.
"Dear friends, we are already God's children,
but He has not yet shown us
what we will be like when Christ appears.
But we do know that we will be like Him,
for we will see Him as He really is."