five good things my dad taught me…

Here are five things my father taught me, either directly or indirectly. I believe all of them are good. I list them, with a smidgen of commentary, to honor him this Father’s Day. And why five? Because that number represents a handful…any more than that and it gets hard to handle.

1. Its good to love. Folks remember little of what you say or do, but they do remember what you love. The texture of your life comes from your loves. My dad loves my mom, and Johnny Cash music, and horses, and peanut butter. If you love people and places and even things, your heart’ll break many times over. Sure, there are bad breaks, but there are also good breaks…you’ll never know the difference unless you choose to love.

2. Its good to have some heroes besides Jesus. Oh, keep Jesus by all means, but a little faith in fellow feet of clay demonstrates you live in the world and not just on it. One of my dad’s heroes died recently – James Arness, aka Marshall Dillon. His death broke my dad’s heart, just a little. My dad’s heroes have always been cowboys…and Jesus.  

3. Its good to be moved to tears…for example, when heroes die or when the national anthem is played at ballgames or when you lay eyes on your grandkids for the very first time. Not too long ago I sat with my dad and brother and we listened to the soundtrack from True Grit, those old hymns rendered achingly gorgeous by Carter Burwell…my dad just sat there and wept. 

4. Its good to go easy on folks. That tough love stance is appropriate every once in a while, sorta like that singular incident of Jesus kicking over stuff in the Temple. But that’s the exception. The rule worth more than gold is be gentle.

5. Its good to remember God speaks through the sacred. And if all of life is sacred, then God speaks through everything. The trick is to learn to listen to the whole show, every damn stitch, all of this world’s heart-breaking beauty. Then, when the end comes and it will, you can smile and say ‘my, my’ and mean it.

Thank you, Dad. You’re a good man…only God knows how much I love you. 





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  1. Lynda Smith on June 17, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    You can always bring a tear to my eyes.

  2. nance on June 18, 2011 at 2:31 am

    that’s a mighty good handfull.

    • thebeautifuldue on June 18, 2011 at 4:27 am

      Nance, thanks for taking a moment to comment…yes, its good.

  3. Neil on June 19, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    ….and it’s often good for an AMEN to be on our lips! Amen, brother!

  4. Ann Kroeker on June 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Good words.

    Makes me think of my 13yo daughter, whose heart broke a little this weekend over a thoughtless action on the part of a good friend of hers. I told her I hoped that she could risk holding her heart out again, even though it hurts, because, as your dad would say, it’s good to love.

    • thebeautifuldue on June 20, 2011 at 8:58 pm

      Thanks, Ann…whew, being 13 is hard isn’t it? Come to think of it, being 44 ain’t a walk in the park…but still, its good to love.

  5. Nancy on June 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I think cowboys and Jesus make some of the best heroes.

    • thebeautifuldue on June 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm

      Nancy, I like the way you think! Thanks for stopping in…

  6. Jeff Goins on June 21, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Great list and homage to your father, John. Thanks for sharing!

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