Friday, December 26, 2008

The love of a father

As noted (extensively) in my previous post, I've been having some car trouble this week. This is rather unfortunate timing because it, along with the weather, has been wreaking havoc with my attempts to start moving to Salt Lake, not to mention my attempts to get to my new place of employment to get some necessary paperwork and such taken care of before I start work.

As also noted, my dad is a pretty good hand with cars. So today, he and I went to the garage to see what he could figure out about what was wrong with my car and if he could do something about it. I asked questions while he did things but I tried not to ask too many, because I know how my dad works, and his brain doesn't process questions from other people while he's hard at work. He determined after a little tinkering that it was a bad connection and went through his toolbox to find the right things to fix it.

As I idly checked my car's fluids while he did some battery terminal replacement, I started thinking about my dad and how much respect I have for him. I watched him blow on his fingers to warm them up in the sub-freezing weather, and I thought about all the many, many things he has to deal with. His job is very demanding, and on top of that he has responsibilities at home that most people don't deal with. In many ways, he never gets to take a vacation. I know that no one really gets a vacations from home and family responsibilities, but his burdens are much weightier than most. And although he was tired and cold, he was taking time to help me with my car. Just because he loves me. As we finished up and I started the car to see how it worked and heard that lovely growling engine sound, he closed the hood and said, "oh, good. I feel a lot better about sending you off in this car now."

I wanted to do something back for him that would let him know just how very much I appreciate his time and skills and service. But presents for my father are of course ridiculously hard to do. He's so busy that even things he might enjoy like books or movies or games are rather pointless. Anything else he needs is already in the house. And it occurred to me that really the best way for me to help my dad is to continue what I've done for so long- help his children. Give them some of the love and attention and help that sometimes slips through the cracks in a situation like ours. In essence, remove a small piece of his responsibilities.

And as I thought about this, the comparisons between my earthly father and my Heavenly Father became so clear that I almost started crying. I can see the things that my earthly father does for me quite clearly, and from this I know he loves me- fixing my car, asking me questions about biology and genetics, buying me all kinds of gadgets that he's sure I'll like, giving me counsel and blessings (oh, how I'm going to miss being able to slip on over to his office for a blessing when I'm feeling sad or concerned. I've been so spoiled at BYU).

My Heavenly Father does even more for me, although I am not always aware of it, or I don't always recognize it at the moment. He grants me my life and my sense and gives me beautiful sunsets and starry skies and the ability to think and remember things, my family, my friends, my testimony. He also has much on his plate, although He is not hindered by time and does not tire. I want to show Him how much I appreciate His assistance and love and attention when He has so much to do, also. And there are not many things I can give Him that will be effective presents. In fact, the solution for showing both my fathers how much I love them is essentially the same: the best gift is to help their other children.

So, here I come. 2009 is dawning, and while I frown on making extensive lists of well-intentioned resolutions that will almost certainly all fall through, I look forward to a year for showing my thanks to my fathers for their love and their gifts to me- by helping their children. Because I have been so blessed- I need to pass the blessings on.

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