A Dad Kind of Comfort

One Sunday last fall, my pastor talked about the kind of consolation children receive from their parents. Moms are nurturing, he said, but the comfort dads provide is different. It’s special, somehow.

dad and me at weddingI happened to be sitting next to my 82-year-old father during this sermon. I elbowed him right then, hoping he would understand that I appreciated this about him.

He’s not a real emotional sort, and we don’t often sit around and share feelings and whatnot. But I could tell that he got the point of my jab.

When I was a little girl, I would sit on the curb and wait for him to get home from work so I could carry his briefcase and lunchbox into the house. This was long before the days of tobacco-free workplaces, and his clothes reeked of secondhand cigarette smoke. But I didn’t care. Daddy was home; all was well.

I remember sitting on the window seat in our family room shortly before I left for college. I would be going away from home for the very first time, and I was scared to death.

My dad and I talked about change, and he said he liked it.

Huh? I recall thinking. It’s possible to like change?

To this day, that conversation still gives me courage, even though I have yet to reach the point in my own life of liking change.

Years later, I lay in a hospital bed in Little Rock, recovering from one of many surgeries I’ve had to repair internal damage caused by severe endometriosis. My parents had made the eight-hour trek from their home in Kansas to be with me.

I remember my dad there in the room with me, just sitting.

Yes, dads provide a special kind of comfort, all right.

It’s funny how the tables are turned now. There have been several times in the last few years when I have found myself sitting in the hospital room while he lies in the bed. Recovering from hip-replacement surgery. Banged up after a bad fall. Being evaluated after a seizure.

Even then, as my parents look to my family and my sister for logistical support, I draw comfort from him as he banters with the nurses and jokes with me about how he and my mom have a standing account at the hospital.

During different seasons of struggle as a parent—when I find myself wondering how to raise children in this ever-darkening world or how to get someone to understand a particular math concept—my dad’s perspective is soothing.

“She’s going to be alright,” he’ll say. “They’ll be OK.”

He can say that because he knows my daughters. He sees their special qualities, enjoys their personalities and appreciates what they bring to our large, sprawling clan. He can
often see that better than me, caught up as I am in the daily grind of spelling words and driving to ballet class and trying to figure out why someone’s having trouble sleeping at night.

And sometimes, that’s all I need to hear. I don’t need a lot of words about what to do and what to say, just reassurance that they’ll be OK.

Neither of us knows what that’s going to look like for either of my daughters. We both understand that “OK” in God’s point of view may be vastly different from what we might prefer.

But whether the road ahead takes our family through green pastures or dark valleys (chances are, it will be some of each), we know our heavenly Father will be there to guide and protect us.

And that’s the ultimate kind of comfort.

Lois Flowers

P.S. I’m linking up this week with Kelly Balarie at Purposeful Faith, Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory and Holly Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart.

12 Responses to A Dad Kind of Comfort

  1. I love this post Lois! This Father’s Day it has provided me such joy to go thru other blogs and read about people who have had healthy, normal relationships with their dads. I was not “lucky” enough to have a dad who showed love and comfort, but am thankful I have a heavenly Father who does. 🙂

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Nicki, given your background, it’s a huge testament to your gracious heart and your heavenly Father’s love that you are able to find joy in reading blogs about Father’s Day! I’m sorry you didn’t have a healthy relationship with your dad, but it blesses my heart to know that you have found that love and comfort in your relationship with God. Have a wonderful day!

  2. Hi, Lois, I love your reflections on the table turning of age. Your father sounds like an amazing person—a source of strength for you. I’m connecting with you via #tellhisstory. Nice to meet another KC blogger too! I’ll be posting on my blog about my dad tonight. Stop by and check it out.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Christina, it’s great to meet another blogger from the Kansas side! I’m so glad you introduced yourself. 🙂 Yes, my dad is a remarkable person … I was glad to have the chance to write about him this week. I loved your post about your father and look forward to reading more of your writing in the future.

  3. Joy Lenton says:

    Hi Lois, it’s a pleasure to read your words and see how much your earthly and heavenly fathers mean to you and the impact both have on your life. I also love the way you close your post with this reassurance:”we know our heavenly Father will be there to guide and protect us.” Yes, indeed, no matter what challenging circumstances we may have to go through. Amen! Blessings. 🙂

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Joy, thank you for your kind words. They remind me of one of my favorite scriptures, Deut. 31:8: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged.” So much truth, comfort and hope wrapped up in a few short phrases, don’t you think? Have a wonderful day!

  4. Christi says:

    Hi Lois!

    I was so excited when I went to add my link to find that we were neighbors and I GET to read YOUR post :-). This is such a sweet tribute to your dad and I loved learning another piece of who you are.

    And this: “But whether the road ahead takes our family through green pastures or dark valleys (chances are, it will be some of each), we know our heavenly Father will be there to guide and protect us.” … well, I’ll percolate on that one today for a while.

    Hugs and blessings and journey embracing and such!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Good morning, Christi! Thank you for your sweet words. I’m not surprised the part of the post you highlighted resonates with you … it continues to percolate with me as well. And I’m so glad we’re neighbors today, too!

  5. I love this and I love my daddy too. They really are just the best when it comes the “different” thing that they can provide. Thank you for your words! #raralinkup

  6. Lois … your words make me smile ’cause I used to sit and wait on the curb at the bus stop for my dad way back in the day, too. Those were the days when you didn’t have to worry about your kids when they were more than a few blocks away!

    Yes, those bonds last, that impact remains. As I move closer to my parents this month, this picture of the little girl waiting for her daddy to come back into her life goes with me.

    Blessings, friend …

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I’m getting a bit choked up reading your comment, Linda. I have a feeling your being close to your parents is going to be a wonderful blessing for all of you.

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