One of my favorite authors, Don Miller, shares a story about how the librarian at his elementary school used to read stories to his class. These stories would include imaginary creatures such as trolls and fairies. Sometimes the librarian would show the children pictures in the books. One of the pictures that stood out to him was one of a little boy riding on the back of a dragon. This picture caused him to wonder what it would be like to have your very own dragon and fly through the clouds on the back of such a wonderful and powerful creature. He then writes these words, “I bring this up because in writing some thoughts about a father, or not having a father, I feel as though I am writing a book about a dragon or a troll under a bridge. For me a father is nothing more than a character in a fairy tale.”
Mr. Miller put into words exactly how I felt during my childhood years. I mean, I knew fathers were real (unlike dragons and vampires) because I saw them in other places. I saw them when I would eat dinner at my friends’ homes. I saw them around the neighborhood. And I saw them playing catch with their sons and daughters. But growing up, I always figured there was something wrong with me because I never had one in my house.
At some point, that all changed. My mom started bringing this man around the house. I remember meeting him and thinking he was a giant. After all, he was a little over 6 feet tall; I was used to my mom being the adult in the house and she was only 5’1” on a tall day. And I remember the Chevy station wagon he drove. This man would later become my “step-dad” and I finally had something better than a dragon to ride. I had a father.
It wasn’t easy on him to go from being single one day and inheriting three kids the next. But he never wavered. Even though there were many times he could have left. The times I mouthed off. The times I didn’t listen. The many times I rebelled. He chose to stay and to love. And while he is my “step,” my heart calls him “dad.”
I am writing all of this for two reasons. First, I want to thank all the other “step” dads and moms who have loved children as their own. They will always be heroes and heroines to me. Secondly, I want you to know that he was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and this week I will be in Florida spending some father/son time with him.
I leave you in good hands with Eddie, Cathleen and the rest of your fantastic staff. Thank you for your prayers and I look forward to being back with you next week!