My Dad is having heart surgery tomorrow. I was with him yesterday as he was visiting with the surgeon about the details. I heard my Dad tell the surgeon, “You need to know I am a coward.” Daddy then went on to ask the tough questions and to share some specific fears with the surgeon. The surgeon assured us as best he could that he would do everything in his power to make this difficult situation as bearable as possible. (He also told Dad that his experience has shown him that the guys who want the surgeon to know how “tough” they are and how high their pain threshold is are the worst patients after surgery.)
I’m so proud of my Dad. He doesn’t see himself as tough or macho. He hasn’t spent his life on the fast track to monetary achievement. Instead, he has lived a quiet life of real, everyday, ordinary courage where his family has always been his greatest joy and only priority.
Author Brene’ Brown defines courage as our “willingness to tell our own stories with our whole heart.” That describes my Dad perfectly. My favorite joyful moments involving Dad are listening to him tell stories. Whether from the pulpit or the recliner, my Dad uses his wordsmith gifts to transport himself and the listener to a place of hope, encouragement, peace, reverence or hilarity! Week in and week out, Dad stands in front of believers and seekers and reveals to them a God of grace and compassion and mercy – never for show or accolade or prestige. Rather, he shares his gift because that is who he is through and through. He can’t not tell his story.
He tells our story, too. Whether at a wedding, an anniversary celebration or a funeral, Dad’s willingness to connect to and serve and encourage others with those beautifully crafted words and phrases touches our souls and reminds us to be grateful for each other and life. He makes us all feel valued. Cherished. Loved. Appreciated. Important. He helps us believe we are worthy.
That’s courage. Plain and simple, yet extraordinary.
Love you, Dad!