In recent times, I've come to realize it's not easy wearing many hats in life and juggling the various obstacles and inevitable unpredicabilities that come. But for as long as I could remember, my dad has been doing just that: wearing many hats and juggling being a son, brother, husband, father, colleague, leader, pastor, counselor, chaplain, professor, dean.
Three (of the many) roles he has played in my life:
1. Teacher - He taught me the importance of respecting others but also respecting myself. He taught me to appreciate differences. He taught me to advocate for myself, for others and to fight for justice. He taught me the importance of forgiveness: to forgive others, to forgive yourself. He taught me a love for music, art and creativity.
He taught me the love of learning. Receiving a doctorate in a country not your own studying in a language that's not your native tongue while raising a family must not have been easy (for my dad and for my mom). And though we didn't always have a lot, growing up our house had shelves and shelves of books (many that my dad would find in used bookstores - he even taught me to appreciate a good deal!) When I was wee little, I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare and would walk to the living room and see my dad reading, researching, preparing a sermon - learning.
2. Coach - One of my fondest childhood memories is living on-campus of Drew University and following my dad to the tennis courts in the summers and watching him play tennis with his buddies for hours on end. I didn't know it at the time, but I learned a lot watching him play: camaraderie, self-care, sportsmanship, integrity.
I can credit him for my love of watching sports. But I can also credit him for my love of playing sports and a constant pursuit of an active lifestyle. He taught me to play tennis, softball. He still coaches me in golf (whenever we have the chance for a round of golf). He taught me to swim, ride a bike.
3. Supervisor - I am blessed beyond measure because I share a profession and calling with both of my parents. My dad teaches/trains/equips counselors and am pretty lucky to get "free" supervision.
Though he is in a position of teaching and supervising others, he never stops learning and working on himself. I am inspired and challenged by his humility. I can only pray that I become half the counselor he is.
I am so thankful for an incredibly affectionate, ceaselessly expressive, wise, humble, sacrificial, caring father whose mission and calling in life is to point to the Father's love.
Thank you for being my counselor, my fan, my friend. Thank you for being you.
Happy Father's Day, dad. I love you.