Yes, 5 days following my mom’s birthday, there is my dad’s. She’s a cradlerobber, ya know.
My dad is, and was a man’s man. He was born in San Francisco in 1935, so his family story is very similar to the one you’ve heard many times over about being born to immigrant parents trying to provide for their family in a new country during the Great Depression and World War II. My dad had to work in his father’s butcher shop from a very young age. When he was of age, he joined the Marines. Even when he was young, he was something of a thrill-seeker. So joining the Marines seemed like a pretty good fit for young men who live life to extremes.
Moving ahead to his post-military career, he was a police detective in San Francisco for more than 20 years. One interesting story which will tell you a little something about his mindset versus that of the average, normal-thinking individual, is when he saw the office memo advertising the creation of a new task force; the bomb squad. My dad happened to work in the building in which he would need to apply, so he sprinted up several flights of stairs while the memo was still floating to the ground in his wake. He was certain there would be a line of guys jumping on this fantastic opportunity. When he arrived at the appropriate office, there was one person in the office to welcome my sweating, out-of-breath father.
“Why are you out of breath?”
“I wanted to apply for the bomb squad, and I knew there would be a crowd. Am I too late?”
“Crowd? Nobody wants this job. You’re the only one who has contacted us.”
Typical of my dad. He has always seen the world pretty clearly through his own lens, and doesn’t understand that others can’t see what he sees.
As I mentioned the other day when speaking of my mom, she was the type who loved to serve people. I honestly don’t recall my dad ever being in the kitchen to even make himself a sandwich. Mom took care of everything. He worked hard. He had a very demanding job which weighed on him mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
In 1982, my dad made a significant decision which would alter his life, and all those who he has come to know since. He became a Christian. I was 17 years old at the time, so I figured this was just an older person who wanted to get into Heaven. But in reality, things wouldn’t change. I was wrong.
The very same man who never had to pour his own glass of iced tea or do a load of laundry, has since become, who I call, the male Martha Stewart. I am skipping a million details so this doesn’t turn into the Moby Dick of blog posts, but the man I know today is light years from the man I knew growing up. No better or worse. Just changed. He is the most generous and compassionate man I know. Very highly principled, but not at the expense of his dignity, or that of others. Due to my mom’s illness, he has assumed all duties required to maintain a home. He is the cook, the maid, the nurse, the accountant…all while maintaining his tangible masculinity. My mother is his life. He takes such incredible care of her. She couldn’t be in better hands. She adores him, and needs him like never before.
He is a true hero and role model. I’m fortunate and blessed to have such an example in my life. I don’t know that I could ever equal the man he is, but I certainly will do well to try.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.