Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday Memory: Dad's Nap


Did I ever tell you about DAD'S NAP?


Yesterday was my dad's birthday, so today's Monday Memory is in honor of him. My sister Sparrow posted about Dad yesterday, too--it's definitely worth a read.

Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you.

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My dad loves kids, and even as a grandpa is always happy to let them use him as a jungle gym. He gives horsey-back rides, turns his feet into trampolines, and lets the kids take flying leaps into his chest.

Once, when my Sis J and I were about my girls' ages, Dad fell asleep on the floor while we were jumping on his back. Don't ask me how; my dad can nap anywhere, under any circumstances.

Mom was out running some kind of errand. When Dad stopped responding to our proddings of "Giddyup, Horsey!", we looked around for something else to do.

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I don't know which of us thought of the toilet paper. I think one of us accidentally dropped a roll in the bathroom. It left such a fascinating white trail behind as it rolled away.

Before long we were rolling it along the hallway and watching it bounce gleefully down the stairs. We rolled it back and forth like a ball, tracing designs on the carpet with the trailing tail and wrapping it around furniture. Dad didn't even wake up when we climbed across his legs and rolled the toilet paper down his back and around his arms.

I would love to have a photo of the scene that greeted Dad when he awoke, wrapped in trails of filmy white paper. I don't remember whether he woke up before my mother arrived home, or if she entered to see our preschool artwork swaddling the house in a web of white strands.

Rolling all the toilet paper back onto the roll wasn't nearly as much fun as unrolling it had been.

My most common and vivid memory of my dad, though, is not a one-time circumstance, but a thread that ran through my childhood the way we toilet papered the house that time.

* * * * * *

I remember often coming downstairs in the mornings to see my dad sitting at the kitchen table reading his Bible. He'd look up when I came into the room and say, "What do you think this passage here means?"

He'd wait while I read it, then he'd listen carefully to my opinion and we'd discuss it. We'd come up with questions together and research them to find out what theologians said, or we'd compare other passages to get a fuller context. Sometimes we'd form an opinion about something based on logic and evaluating Scripture as a whole; other times we'd have to accept the limitations of our own understanding.

In those interactions my Dad taught me to value Scripture, to think deeply about it, and to own it--to let it apply to and impact my life in a personal way.

Dad has a passion for studying God's word combined with an unusual humility in interpretation. There are absolutes in his world, but very few of them. He's a fundamentalist in the best sense of the word. A handful of fundamentals are foundational to his life; the rest is icing. The pursuit of God Himself and the willingness to learn and grow is more important to him than any debate about dispensationalism or predestination/free choice. It saddens him greatly that so many people become divided over what he considers non-absolutes.

I think that willingness to consider other points of view and to value the differences is beneficial to unity and leads to respectful interactions with others. I know my Dad's example has made me more willing to value and consider others' views, and more able to converse respectfully even when we can't come to the same conclusions. It's made me less concerned about just having right opinions, and more about having right relationships--first of all with God, and then with others.

Mom made sure Bible was always our first class of the day, and our family often spent time discussing Scripture passages in the evenings. Dad used to ask each family member to share what we'd been learning in our own personal times of Bible study and prayer, encouraging us to make it our own.

My parents taught me to value and enjoy the Bible, and to think about it as God's way of interacting with me. Studying the Bible was never an end in itself, but a means to get to know God better. It was about relationship, not "religion".

That view of Scripture and my faith in God as something dynamic, personal and relational is one of the greatest gifts I've carried away from my childhood. It probably affects nearly every area of my life.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Norma said...

This is precious. How wonderful that he is both a good father and a sound Christian teacher and model for behavior. You can't always get that! Thanks for sharing this. Many will envy your childhood.

2:28 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

That is HILARIOUS about the toilet paper!

And I love the way your Dad modelled his Bible reading for you, and included you in it. Simply beautiful!

12:40 PM  
Blogger Sparrow said...

Great post!

I heard the ending of the TP story this way... Dad did wake up before Mom got home and made you roll it all back up. Then Mom wanted to know why the toilet paper was rolled up all funny. ;-p

12:52 PM  
Blogger Libragirl said...

I am so telling my nephews and niece about the tp thing. They will love and and Grandpa will crack up. So will everyone else. They love a good caper.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Renee Nefe said...

Thanks for stopping by...great memory and great dad. You are truely blessed.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing such a sweet story! I remember when my sisters and I got big enough to pin my dad down for a tickling. We also enjoyed dragging him out of bed.

I respectfully disagree with your comments regarding religion but appreciate your open communication.

Colleen

8:33 PM  
Blogger purple_kangaroo said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I'm glad you enjoyed the TP story. :)

2:36 PM  
Blogger YellowRose said...

What a wonderful memory and tribute to your father!! I loved the TP story, I could just picture the TP all over....matter of fact, my sister and I had our TP days too!

Happy Monday! Mine is up!

10:42 AM  

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