My dads funeral was a seminal moment for me.
I didn’t misunderstand my father. I didn’t understand him.
In one of those rare moments when I had his attention we attended a football game. It was his beloved Perth Demons getting touched up well and truly. I was about 7 or 8 years old. We left at half time.
I didn’t understand why we left early. Dad had taken me to the football. It was great. One of those rare moments where we had gone father and son together somewhere.
In later years I began to understand why he was as he was. Someone who wanted to communicate with his son, but was just unable to. He didn’t ever talk to me, not really. And I don’t think it was because he was a bad father. He wasn’t. He was a great father. But things had happened to him when he was a child, nothing abusive, just no emotional connection. He failed miserably at having one with me.
But at his funeral. There was over four hundred people there. Many of them dad had personally led to Jesus, or pastored or led in some way. The effect he had on the kingdom was profound. Out of the youth group he led, in a church which was in many ways dysfunctional, many teenagers grew up to be senior church leaders and pastors now leading all over the state and country. His effect for Jesus was profound.
People talk about him to me, and at my weakest moment a tinge of resentment rises up. Then its pride. And I’m a pastor. His son.
I wish I knew him like others did. But at the same time, I wish I was half the man he was.