Yesterday I chatted briefly with my dad and wished him a happy father's day. The best part was that he was in great spirits and was having brunch with 3 of his 5 children for the first time in nearly 30 years.
I have always been something of a daddy's girl, and am grateful that he's still with us at 84 years and going strong. Here are some of the lessons I learned from this wise, witty, fun man:
1. People are more important than meetings. I worked with him the summer after I graduated from high school at a sawmill he was struggling to build (it never did work right), and one day, when I was impatient to leave for a church meeting, we stayed extra long to visit with a lonely old man who lived across the highway. His comment stayed with me, and taught me about proper perspectives.
2. Always do more than what is required. That piece of advice that he gave me at my first part-time job stuck with me. I can't say I always have followed it exactly, but it has worked well for me when I have.
3. Life is an adventure. You can make the most of it. He demonstrated it through financial reverses, disappointments, the loss of my mother at age 53, and struggles with his second wife. His example helped me deal with the various challenges of my life, including mind-numbing postpartum depression when my oldest daughter was born, before such things were mentioned in polite society.
4. Always turn to prayer and your spiritual leaders for counsel and comfort. Another piece of valuable counsel that has never failed.
5. Stay active and involved in life. This is from my dad who walks his dogs daily, still hikes, fishes, cross-country skis, goes rafting on the Salmon River with my brother, travels, etc. We sometimes have a hard time keeping up with him.
6. Follow your dreams, and don't give up when it gets hard. Dad served as a tail gunner in China during WWII. He lost his best friend and regular crew during the war, and always wanted to go back to China. He was finally able to realize that dream in 1989, just before the Tianamen Square massacre and wrote a book about his experiences "In search of ghosts: China perspectives, past and present, by a former Flying Tiger." When I decided to go back to school, he was one of my biggest supports and cheerleader.
David had a better weekend than he's had all month. He was able to talk to most of the children, and we had a good visit with his mother. We also watched "Star Trek" and thoroughly enjoyed it. We're in the process of getting a new roof, and he's been occupied in checking out all possible options, including doing it himself, along with our sons. I can see some improvement in his mood, but its been a long, frustratingly slow climb out of this cycle. Hopefully he'll get his blood levels checked SOON, and we'll have a clearer idea of how he's doing.