My message about Father’s day is going to be centered around my relationship with my father. My dad is so important to me and my family. I’m sure you guys realize how important my mom is to me. She’s included in all of my messages, for very good reasons. She is the star in my life. That’s primarily because of my father. He’s always taught his children to revere our mother. There’s something to be said about someone who encourages you to appreciate someone else. When I say “encourage,” that’s similar to “demand.” Those of you who know my dad know what I mean. My dad loved his mother and adored his daughter, and he loves my mother. Of course, I was named after my father and I’m the oldest son. My father is a force in my life, one that is ongoing, relentless, and totally dependable. He will be 80 and he’s still going strong and sticking to his principles and making it happen. My dad has taught me about strength, acceptance, and adaptability. These lessons have given me a good life.
My father and mother have been examples and role models my whole life. I’ll be 55 on July 2. Some familiar with my lifelong condition would say I’m living on borrowed time. I’ve been taught to believe/know that it’s by the grace of God that I’m still here with my family and friends. Like my father, I’m an integral part of the lives of my family and friends. African American men don’t typically live to be viable in their 80s. My father and three of my uncles are still formidable. It’s a legacy that my brother and I share. My father has no problems speaking his mind. Throughout his life, he’s been an example to all of us. My father’s a worker. He works through good and bad times. It keeps him straight and proud. He could live another lifestyle and he has my mom to encourage that. But he’s comfortable and he shines in his domain and routine. There’s something to be said for that. But he doesn’t say it, he shows it.
Because of my dad, I think I’ve been attracted to and I’ve attracted a number of friends who’ve had strong fathers and loving mothers and who live to be worthy of that blessing. They want to be good fathers and representative friends and community members. I cherish my father for that. I share with my friends the love toward their fathers. There’s no escaping the blessing of the kind of man you can become when you have the kind of father you can relate to, look up to, and depend upon. I’m thankful to be in their company and I live to reinforce those principles and encourage those practices because that’s what it’s about, doing the work and reaping the rewards of the kind of people you encourage and create.
Right now, I’m in the hospital for Father’s Day weekend. I call it the “spa.” I’ve got good nurses and doctors that have cared for me for about 7 years. I’m still on a ventilator and I use a foley catheter to regulate my urine. These things are foreign bodies that introduce me to bacteria every day. Every now and then, I need to have a round of antibiotics to control the infections they create. It’s a routine I’ve had to accept to stay alive. I am alive and I am living to share and contribute to the lives of all of you. My life is a testament to the grace of God and the love of family and friends, starting and continuing with the love of my father and mother and extending through the grace of all of you.
Take time to show affection and appreciation for your fathers. Acknowledge the kind of person you’re trying to be because of their example. Once again, on July 2, I’ll be turning 55 and the plan is for me to enjoy the blessing of seeing my father and mother and being with the people I love. I love all of you!