My dad is one of the kindest, most gentle and hard working men out there. He is brave and honest, he is passionate and driven, he gives fully with holding nothing from anyone. From the moment you meet him, you cannot help but be inspired by his intentionality and his infectious way of making you feel included and important. I grew up to be the woman I am because I had a man like him to walk in front of me as a leader and path maker – next to me as a teammate and encourager – and behind me as an observer and prayer warrior on the journey’s I had to take on my own.
I tell this man every chance I get just how special he is, not because I have to, but because he deserves to know the difference he makes. Yesterday was no different for me, as we celebrated the union of two special people in marriage with friends, family, and coworkers we’ve known for over a decade. At the end of the night, as I was driving home with him, he was filled with emotion and I could tell something beautiful happened to him that night. As he divulged to me all that was said to him, I was taken aback.
The whole evening, hoards of people both young and old, came up to my dad and spoke the words I have always spoken to him. They told him of his impact, of his value, of their respect for him, and how special of a man he truly is. These things were not news to him as he hears them regularly from me, however, they held a different amount of power. These words were spoken to him by people he never knew his circle of influence touched – and that touched him. As he finished explaining what a refreshing night he had, it concluded with a statement that shook me to my core – “it’s amazing and special to be able to hear these things during life and not at a funeral”.
Life is so short, and we do not always choose to tell the people we love and admire that we love and admire them. I have done a great job with my father, but as he said that I realized I do not pour encouraging and affirming words in to the rest of my sphere. He challenged me that night to give the accolade and glory to those I love most when I have the chance. And now I encourage you to do the same. Speak out loud the feelings you have towards those around you who mean the most to you. Just because you think you show it, doesn’t mean they know it.