Daddy used to scare me.
When I was a kid, we spent nearly every spring break, summer and Thanksgiving at my grandpa’s farm. When Daddy wasn’t working cattle or bailing hay, we’d often go fishing. Grandpa’s place covered quite a few acres, so we had our choice of ponds. But the one I always dreaded was the one with the narrow dam that sat just across the old creek.
The old creek had dried up some years ago, but the bed remained. Bumpy. Dry. Steep. Especially steep. Or at least that’s how it seemed to my child-sized eyes.
Whenever we’d decide to fish that particular pond, it meant we had to cross that old creek bed. Now this may not seem like a big deal, but did I mention we often crossed it on the tractor? Yep. Daddy drove while Momma, Jake and I hung on for dear life. Well, I hung on for dear life.
Sometimes we’d make it up the bank on the first try. I’d close my eyes and wrap my arms and legs around that old blue tractor as tightly as I could; I knew what was coming. Daddy would gun it at just the right moment and ta-da! We were at the top. But other times, it wasn’t so easy. If Daddy didn’t get it on the first couple tries, we’d get off and find a spot to climb the bank while he manhandled the tractor up the hill. I’d stand and watch and hold my breath until he was at the top.
Once we landed my breath would return, but only for a minute. Now it was time to face The Dam.
Now, when I say this pond had a dam, what I’m really saying is this pond had an extremely narrow path on one side that was baaaarely wide enough for a truck. Fall one way and you’re in the pond. Fall the other and you’re falling down a pretty steep drop. Either way, you did NOT want to fall off!
Have I mentioned the word Steep yet?
The problem was, the best and pretty much only fishing spot was on the other side of the dam, and the dam was the only way to it. So if this was the fishing hole of choice, crossing the dam wasn’t optional.
Once again, a’riding the tractor we’d go. With Daddy at the helm and the three of us holding tight, we’d cross that skinny strip at whatever speed Daddy felt fair. Sometimes fast. Sometimes slow. But every time, narrowly.
Sometimes I’d get so intimidated I’d jump off the tractor in tears. I’d rather walk than dangle from the heights of that old tractor. Daddy would just shake his head. Even though we’d done it so many times before, I just couldn’t bring myself to trust him this time.
Truth is, I knew my daddy would never let me get hurt. He’d never let any of us get hurt. He was our Protector. He had crossed that dam a thousand and one times. He knew what he was doing, whether I trusted him or not.
Daddy was also our Adventurer. Not only did he know he was capable, but he knew we’d enjoy the thrill of the ride. We’d feel we had accomplished something on the other side of it. We would trust him and thank him and praise him for getting us safely across.
Clearly he was right on all accounts.
Today would be Daddy’s 63rd birthday and if I could, I’d ask him to drive me out to that old pond. Old blue tractor and all. I’d be brave. I’d keep my eyes open. I’d stay on it the whole way and never let go.
I would fully enjoy the ride. I’d hold on tight and hug him even tighter when we made it across. I’d know we had accomplished something, and I’d trust him and thank him and praise him.
And Daddy would grin. He’d be so proud of his baby girl for being brave. He might even chuckle. He’d know just how much I love him because I proved I trusted him.
Oh, that I would trust my Heavenly Father like this. That I would find a way to enjoy the ride, even when it’s narrow and bumpy and steep. That I wouldn’t jump off and go my own way but trust that His way is safest and best; an adventure worth talking about on the other side.
I know that’s what Daddy knows now. His view from Heaven is so grand, I know he would tell me to hang on, keep my eyes open and enjoy the ride. Don’t jump off! Don’t worry about the heights! Just hold on and trust The One behind the wheel. He’s The Greatest Protector and Adventurer of All Time, totally worthy of my trust and thanks and praise.
Yes, Daddy was all of those things to our family and more. An amazing earthly example of Jesus. Oh how I miss him.
To celebrate Daddy today, we went fishing and ate giant cheeseburgers. No, we didn’t ride the tractor or cross a dam, but the memory of Daddy and that old pond has played in my mind all day.
Happy Birthday, Daddy. Thank you for taking me the long way around the pond.❤️
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.””
John 16:33 NLT