My biological father was an interesting, energetic, well-educated man with many God given talents. He was charismatic, had a talent for writing, acting and could sell you your least favorite car if you gave him ten minutes.
I have wonderful memories of my dad. When we traveled throughout Italy we would sing Italian love songs and when we needed to run errands, he and I would sing his old army songs or make up songs about our day. He was a history enthusiast and would literally sit and read the encyclopedia from A-Z. How he would have loved the computer age with all that knowledge virtually at his fingertips. My dad would bring history alive not only with the facts but with the stories about the people and the times they lived in. In the winter he would take us tobogganing, my mom imploring my older brother to watch out for our dad because, inevitably, it was my dad who would get hurt.
My dad wasn’t perfect. He carried a lot of baggage growing up with a famous father and a mother that died when he was 8. He wasn’t always faithful to my mom and he didn’t always know how to love us properly. His temper could be that of The Hulk. No, my dad wasn’t perfect but then who in this life, including me, is?
My dad died when I was 13, my oldest brother was married, my younger one off to my father’s college alma mater leaving just my mom and I to fend for ourselves. This left me feeling insecure, shy around boys/men, yet craving their attention and affection. It is a dangerous combination during the teenage years.
During my high school years, I got a after school job working for a friend’s mother who managed a Western Union Telegraph office. I worked the counter by myself but so as not to be alone, my friend’s father would sit at a back desk and write letters to his grown step daughter. When my three hour shift was done, he drove me home because I didn’t have my driver’s license when I first started working there. I remember feeling shy but safe at the same time. During those drives, he must have sensed my tension because he just talked about his older daughter and his grandchildren and made me feel at ease. This big stature of a man was a retired army colonel – imposing to say the least. But he also was a silent, calm presence during a time when I was adjusting to being fatherless; having been uprooted from Italy where my dad died and returning to America in the 70’s where civil unrest and racial riots at my school frightened the daylights out of me.
After several years of being a widow, my mom slowly began dating and the stories she shared were both funny and sad. But God was smiling on her when she, along with a girlfriend, audited a college class in the Department of Biological Sciences where they met an engaging Professor and became fast friends. “Professor” was a gentleman who was kind, funny, and intelligent. He loved both my mother and I and showed me what kindness in a relationship can be like. While they never married, they remained good friends even after they broke up. It is “the Professor” I went to when mom and I were at odds with each other. It was “the Professor” who advised about choosing a college. It was he that showed me patience and love when I was both impatient and unlovable. He became the father I hadn’t had but so needed. It was “the Professor” who gave me my first fulltime Summer job while I was in high school and it was there I gained an interest in science, research, and medicine that would set the course not only for my future jobs but lead me to my husband, Thad.
Thad was a master’s student at the university and Professor sat on his graduate committee. When Thad and I decided to spend the rest of our lives together he was the one who gave us a honeymoon cruise – something we were not prepared to do because of a lack of funds. When Thad wanted to go on for his Ph.D. at Duke University, it was “the Professor” who gave us $100.00 gas money and told Thad to “get his butt up to NC” get a job and then the rest would come. And sure enough, the rest did come. His presence, love, kindness, and good advice will never be forgotten.
Father’s come in all different circumstances – good and bad. Fathers are not just biological; but can also be father figures placed by God at the time we need them. Not to acknowledge their presence in our lives would be to discard God’s gift to us and the message He has for us through them.
There’s another Father I need to acknowledge. This is Someone who will never leave me, never run out of patience, is always approachable, always desires what’s best for me, provides me with wisdom and yet allows me to make my own choices in life. I can never earn His love, nor lose it regardless of what despicable things I may do or say in this life. He is the ultimate Father. Father God. And it is He that I owe my life to. If I never had these earthly father figures who were his emissaries; I still have the most important one in my life – Abba Father.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1-3 … So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
The take-away from our fathers is what is important. I am lucky. I had three earthly men in my life that each help make me the person I am today. Each of these men helped me discern what I wanted and didn’t want in a man and who I wanted as the father of my children/child. Their loving care may have been for a particular season in my life but it was not just now and then, it was a love without end. And the love they taught me, I have also taught to my child. It is truly a circle of love.
And thanks to these three father figures, I chose a man who loves and cares for our daughter better than anyone I have ever met.
And so, this Father’s Day, I want to acknowledge the Fathers who made my life special: Mario Charles Yon, Colonel Mike Michaels and Dr. Vincent Saurino. You may be gone from my earthly life, but I believe in my heart we will see one another again in eternity.
My wish for each of my readers is to look for the wonderful men who have enriched your life. They may be biological or not; they may be a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, a coach, or a neighbor that made all the difference then and now. Hug them, love them and thank them for making your life sweeter and safer. They were sent to you by God.
May God bless all the fathers that have given their time, their care and their love. Happy Father’s Day.
Who has been a father figure in your life? How has this person impacted your life in the past and the future? Please share in the conversation.
Thank you for reading my post. If you have found it encouraging please consider liking, commenting or sharing it. Feel free to even re-blog – may these words take flight!
I have additional insights I’d love to share with you found in the pages of my debut book: Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts. To order a copy or learn more go to my website at www.lorettaschoen.com
Blessings for Health & Wellness.