Tribute to My Father – Guest Post

 

Today I’m honored to have Thomas Mason share his heart with you all. Thomas is a new friend of mine and writes his own blog Living the Story over at thomasemason.net…I encourage you to follow his journey with Christ over there…you’ll definitely be blessed! - JC

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Tribute to My Father

My father passed away in January of 2007 at the age of 89. We weren’t particularly close. In fact, I always thought of myself more of a nuisance to him than anything else.

Not a priority.

Not wanted.

The last time we saw or communicated with each other was in January of 1999.

When I saw him for the first time during eight years of absence at his home sitting in his favorite chair in a peaceful repose just moments after his passing, I wanted to somehow make up for being an awful son to him.

The funeral arrangements my mother and I made were dignified and regal, befitting an Army Serviceman who served during World War II, and a hospitality career that spanned more than seven decades, despite years and years of dysfunctional relating to one another as a family unit.

I wanted to say a few words at his funeral. It ended up being a tribute to my father.

Following are the words I spoke:

My relationship with you was not always the closest. There were times when I didn’t always want to be around you. There was even a moment when I ran from you. And when I thought you would keep me from home fell apart, I found myself back at home. Although we didn’t embrace, your arms nonetheless were wide open, welcoming me back.

All of my life, but especially in recent years, these questions arose in my mind: “Am I adequate?” and “Do I have what it takes?” And today, I still ask myself those questions.

This week I searched through my mother’s old photograph books desperately wanting to recapture some good memories of you. I found a handful of pictures when I was a baby and later as a young boy where we were standing side by side. I even found one with you and mom and it appears we were a happy family. But I seemed to have forgotten about those times, and I don’t know why.

Too, this week, my mind has been flooded with memories I long since suppressed: the memories of family trips and outings, the memories of being with you, just you and me, when I was with you at your workplace, the hotel. I was there so much I think I knew that hotel like the back of my hand. And because of your position there, I felt a little like royalty.

Another question came to my mind this week: “Why did those seemingly good times get overshadowed by the not so good times?” I don’t understand it, and maybe on this side of heaven I’ll never understand.

But as I’ve thought this week about you, about my childhood, about where I am now in my life, I would hope that between you and my mother and the manner you raised me, that I turned out okay. I’m certainly far from perfect, but God isn’t finished with me yet. There is still a lot of work to do.

I don’t ever remember calling you dad or daddy, but maybe I did. But even if I didn’t I look back at you with honor. I salute your life. From this moment on, I’ll not be burdened by regrets and what might have been. I’ll move forward carrying high the family name with dignity and respect because I’m beginning to realize now that I am adequate. I know I have what it takes.

Dad, thanks for giving me life.

Questions: Do you have any long-standing regrets? If so, how do you think you can rectify those regrets and move on with your life?

Thomas_Mason [compressed] 
My name is Thomas Mason. I have a wife, Jessica, who I’ve been married to for 13 years. We have an 8 year-old daughter, Audrey. I blog regularly at Living the Story, http://thomasemason.net and you can find me on Twitter @thomasmason_

 

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Comments

bill (cycleguy) said…
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TCAvey said…
Not only did I write about my Dad this week (twice) I've read a few other blogs recently about honoring our fathers who have passed.

It's humbling to see God working in us, to see how Father's shape our lives more than we sometimes realize.

I regret I didn't fully comprehend how awesome my dad was. I regret that I only had 28 years with him and that he never got to see his grand baby. But in heaven we will have all eternity to spend and he will see his grandchild then!

Thanks for sharing!
jasonS said…
My dad died when I was 17 and it took me some years to realize all the positive contributions he made to my life and our family. It wasn't that I didn't love him, but being a teenager with both raging hormones and trying to exert independence, we butted heads constantly. I can now look back though and see all the wonderful things about him besides the imperfections.

As far as regrets, I just keep hearing the words to that song, "How He Loves" where it says: I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves us. They don't just stick around, we have to maintain them, but His love and presence make all the difference. Thank you Thomas (and Jay).
Thomas Mason said…
As I looked back during his funeral and wondered why the bad times seemed to usurp the good times in our relationship I didn't understand. Several years later I still don't understand. But I've released the bitterness I held against him.

Thank you, Jason, for your comment!
Thomas Mason said…
Dads have a special role in forming and nurturing the people we will eventually become. I didn't have a great relationship with my father, but I believe because of that, it is making me be more intentional in how I relate to my daughter.

Thanks for commenting, TC!
bill (cycleguy) said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bill Grandi said…
Nice tribute thomas.  My father and I have not had the best of relationships either, especially since he has chosen to go AWOL.  When he left mom in '76, I was there for him.  When he wanted/needed me.  Then he would disappear again.  He has now disappeared.  I don't look forward to the day he dies.  I have this sneaking suspicion I could copy yours.  
Pastor said…
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Dan Black said…
Thomas,

You know a lot of my story:)

I know I could not or can change this but wish I could have gotten to know my father better before he died. At least I'll be able to see him again in Heaven.
Thomas Mason said…
There are some things we cannot control in our lives. We wish things were different in our childhoods and we end up having regrets when we're older. If we're willing, forgiveness for ourselves and for the people in our lives, can be obtained.

I appreciate your comment, Dan!
Pastor said…
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BG said…
Nice tribute thomas.  My father and I have not had the best of relationships either, especially since he has chosen to go AWOL.  When he left mom in '76, I was there for him.  When he wanted/needed me.  Then he would disappear again.  He has now disappeared.  I don't look forward to the day he dies.  I have this sneaking suspicion I could copy yours.  
Jay Cookingham said…
Thomas, I thank you for your honest approach to your relationship with your Dad and for sharing that with us. There is grace in your approach and that is always a good thing!
Jay Cookingham said…
Thomas, this was form Bill over at  CYCLEGUY'S SPIN, his comment wouldn't post for some reason....


Nice tribute thomas.  My father and I have not had the best of relationships either, especially since he has chosen to go AWOL.  When he left mom in '76, I was there for him.  When he wanted/needed me.  Then he would disappear again.  He has now disappeared.  I don't look forward to the day he dies.  I have this sneaking suspicion I could copy yours. 
Thomas Mason said…
Jay, thank you for hosting me on your blog! Thank you also for your very kind words.
Thomas Mason said…
It amazes me how much of our identity is tied up in our fathers and when
we don't get that, a huge part of 'us' is missing and unfulfilled. I
admire your faithfulness to your father even when he was unfaithful to
your family. I hope the road ahead will be peaceful between you and your
dad.



Thanks for commenting, Bill!
floyd said…
The greatest generation seemed to be of few words, but their lives spoke honor in action. While they weren't the best of communicators, they certainly did make us the strong people of character that they always hoped we would be.

Thanks for sharing from your heart. That's the writing that always touches a heart and turns the wheels of our  minds.
Thomas Mason said…
You make a very valid point. I never thought of it that way before. Even though he wasn't much of a communicator, he did have the greatest respect from the community and in the career that he had.

I really appreciate your kind words! Thanks for the encouragement, Floyd!
Dan Black said…
 So very true.
Juan Cruz Jr. said…
Thomas, great post. I do have regrets about my relationship with my father. It's noting that I could've done to change it. My mother and father never married and I didn't get a chance to do father and son things. But I've just enjoyed the time that I still have with him and I am not going to get bitter about it. Thanks for sharing such personal moments with us. 
Thomas Mason said…
I've learned that we cannot live well in regret and bitterness. It's also taken a long time to realize that the way things were back then were not my fault and I couldn't have done anything to change the situation. I'm glad you are able to have a relationship now.

I appreciate your comments, Juan!
Chad Jones said…
This was a touching tribute, one that makes me want to reframe my relationship with my dad. We are currently estranged, because I had to make a decision whether or not to allow him to continue to dishonor my wife with his words. Not saying I did everyhthing right, of course not: I have regrets. But it's taken me most of my life to learn (and I'm still learning) how to be a man.

Great post!
Joanne Norton said…
Interesting timing to read this.  I had already decided that the Peter Pollock word carnival for tomorrow, which is "Miss", is going to be my dad story.   He died May 22, '84.  Our relationship was very bad... much connected to significant abuse, etc.... and he had come to the Lord about 5 years earlier, even though his alcoholism continued to be a serious issue.  I didn't see him often for years... we lived in different locations.    I "miss" my dad very much... we never had time together and will when we are in Heaven together.

Thank you for sharing.

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