My dad is a mystic and dreamer. Throughout my childhood, I often heard the phrase “you can pick you friends, you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose”. With such wisdom and humor, my dad consistently brings laughter and moments of “what in the world?!” into my world.
For most of my growing up years, my dad was a pastor, and I watched him hold space for people to grow, break down, discover themselves (and sometimes God), while he listened with an open heart. He has been a chaplain, sitting with people in crisis, grief, huge and sometimes sudden change, giving them space to feel their feels and making them tea or a sandwich. I’ve always admired my dad’s ability to stay calm when someone else needs to freak out.
From my dad I came to know the love of learning. My entire life my dad has always been learning something. For a while, we got to be in seminary classes together, sharing ideas for homework and long long long papers. When I picture my dad during my childhood, I remember him surrounded by piles of books, and the many ways he excellently and expertly sorted through information. Also, he draws rather than takes notes, and his geometric creations are legendary.
My dad and I share many things in common, ranging from a ridiculous love of plants to dealing with anxiety. When I was little, my dad would tuck me into bed at night, and we would talk about my day. I was often worried and harsh on myself about how the day went, and he helped me put things into perspective and find the joy in the struggle. Also, goofiness. I love how my dad lets his silly flag fly free, and how his freedom with his own strangeness opens up space for others to let go of what they think they should be or do.
My dad and I started a business together, making journals (and all the many other things we’ve tried over the last few years). We’ve supported each other through difficult transitions, and continue to share dreams and creative projects. My dad taught me about art, and his love of creating with paper, color, and imagination was and is an infectious and delightful presence in my life. From teaching me how to use an exacto knife to giving me space to grieve cutting off the toes of the paper frog I just spent hours painstakingly cutting out – he’s always been there to support and foster my creativity.
My dad is like the mist above the ocean, and the new green of springtime. He is a lover of questions, and his comfort level with mystery is beyond impressive. From my dad I’ve learned that it’s ok to not know, and that I probably won’t ever have things figured out. The way he finds joy and purpose despite incredible physical pain inspires me to accept life as it is, and to find the wonder in each moment.
I spent time with my dad every week, and he’s one of my best friends. We talk about life, work on our business, rest, care for plants, make popcorn, play with the cats, and generally just enjoy being around each other.
My dad knows how to create safe space, and infuses all that he does with rest and beauty. He is loving and consistent, and I know I will always be welcomed as I am. I’m so grateful to him for his love and friendship, and for the many afternoons and evenings sitting outside with the flowers and fairy lights, enjoying the stillness together.
I love you dad.