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Mondays with Dad

My father passed away last Thursday. He shared his heart for his family with me during our weekly discussions. I’m so thankful that he was my dad!

Mondays with Dad
(Borrowed from Tuesdays with Morrie)
As Long as You Are Under this Roof…
It is great to see so many people here today.  Dad always loved this church and did a lot to fill it.  Although I can’t say he had those high intentions in mind when he had 12 children … but we can’t say for sure.
It is sure that he did his best to get his children to church.  I remember hearing more than once “as long as you are under this roof you will go to church”.  …Father (referring to Ft. Morris), I think it is appropriate … on behalf of my brothers and sisters; we have a confession to make.  We would often come to church pick up a bulletin and get scarce for an hour.  When dad asked later, “Did you go to church?” we could say “I went to the 10 (holding up the bulletin) and I see the youth group is meeting again this Tuesday”
            Personally, I was very closed minded about God.  I would go to church to please dad.  But I would go to the late service because than, I reasoned, I could at least practice my Spanish.
Mondays with Dad
            It was many years later, actually only 2 or 3 years ago, that dad and I started sitting at the kitchen table each Monday.  We would discuss God, Jesus and Heaven.  Typically the conversation would turn to Scripture and we would have to pull out dad’s big Bible, possible a remnant from his days selling Bibles in the Bronx.  One day I remember holding the Bible with only one hand and the bulk of the Bible fell on the floor, leaving me with only the cover.  Dad quickly said, “you know before you started coming over here that Bible was in great shape.”
Workers in the Vineyard
            On one of those Mondays we actually talked about today’s Gospel reading (Matt 20:1-16.  I remembered telling dad how I used to struggle with it.  I understood that the parable indicates that some will accept Jesus when they are children and others while they are on their deathbed.  And some will resent the offer and never accept Him.  I just didn’t understand why those that have lived, sacrificed and suffered for God for a long time wouldn’t be acknowledged in some way.
            I told him that I was praying about it and God said, “I’m in the vineyard, you are with Me.  The vineyard is heaven.”
Guided by God
            It was probably this reference to prayer that dad still had in mind the next time we met.  When I told him I was praying for something, he quickly stopped me and said, “Terence, God isn’t bothered with trivial things like that.  God is like a landlord; you call him only when you have a big problem.  He doesn’t have time for such small and daily issues.
            “Well dad”, I said, “the Bible does say that God cares about the small details in our lives.  It says that He counts the hairs on our head (which is a moment by moment activity for some of us) and he has his eye on the sparrow…and we are worth many sparrows.”
            Dad paused; it looked like he was thinking even before I started talking.  He then started to share a story but he seemed to be talking more to himself than me.
            “When I was a kid, I was often in trouble for pitching toss.  (An Irish game where you gamble on the results of a tossed coin)  My father (Dad’s dad) told me more than once that I should be studying instead.
            One day, my father thinking of my future, bought me an Irish pub.  On the way home, he saw me pitching toss.  Without even telling me, he went and sold the pub.  He later told me that I wasn’t mature enough.”
            Dad looked at me, “it was probably for the best, I was so easy going that I likely would have given most of the drinks away for free and forgotten to charge for the rest, going bankrupt.  I would have shared in the drinking myself too, possible getting hooked.”
            He continued and turned to me, “Did you know that when I first came to the U.S. I had my heart set on becoming a NY city police officer?”  I never knew that. “Yea, when I got here it turned out that I required a number of months of training and that training would put me over the maximum age allowed.  I would have just missed the cutoff.
            That too, was for the best, when I was young I was brazen and I likely wouldn’t have lived long with a gun in the rough streets of New York City.”
            He continued with more examples of disappointments that were blessings in disguise.  And finally said, as if to himself, I guess God IS watching my way and focused on the small things.
Destined for Heaven
            Throughout our discussions, dad never questioned whether he would be going to heaven.  He once said, “I know two things.  I’m a great sinner and I have a great Savior.  I know I’m going to heaven.  You might make it too but I’ll probably have to travel to see you.”  He was always ribbing me.  Mom quickly responded, “Dad, just because you go to Heaven doesn’t mean they will open the pearly gates and let you in!”
Intercessory Prayer
            The prayer dad copied down, that Patrick read, is what is called an intercessory prayer.  It’s a prayer that asks for nothing for yourself but is on behalf of someone else.  Using the Gospel analogy, I imagine dad (t-shirt wet from sweat after a hard day’s work) going to the vineyard owner, God, and saying I know it is late … but would it be possible for you to go out one more time… there are still a few missing.
            Dad did desire to see this church full but what he really had on his heart was that we would all be in heaven together. Let’s pray.

Creative Commons License
Mondays with Dad by Westchester Men’s Ministry is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at nymensministry.com.

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  1. Monday’s with Dad…

    >It’s been a year since my father passed away.  He shared his heart for his family with me during our weekly discussions. I’m so thankful that he was my dad!  This was the eulogy I gave ……

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