Always a Daddy’s Girl

Daddy's Girl It’s been a little more than a week, but I’m still struggling with the fact that my daddy is gone. I catch myself picking up the phone to call him on my way home from school or when I have a quick trip out to grab lunch on the go. That’s how it was with us. We talked a few times a week, but neither of us were ones to stay on the phone for very long. Two Wednesdays ago was the last time we talked like that on the phone. I called him before I even left the parking lot at work, and we had the best conversation. I was still talking to him when I reached my garage, and that rarely happens.  He was feeling well, and I told him we were thinking of going for a visit the upcoming weekend since it was a holiday weekend.

I actually ended up going a day earlier than we had planned because the very next morning, life as this daughter knew it, began to unravel very rapidly. I won’t go into the details because that’s not the purpose of my writing today.

No matter how transparent I feel I am with people, I don’t typically allow myself to be vulnerable in front of people. I tend to keep walls up, so to speak, and I keep to myself when going through difficult times. However, today I want to allow myself to be vulnerable and share something with you that’s difficult because I’m not good at showing this kind of emotion, and I struggle with showing these types of imperfections (something I just recently realized my daddy also struggled with).

Growing up, I was basically my daddy’s shadow. Whatever he did, wherever he was, I was doing the same thing.  If he was working on his tractor, I was in his lap until I fell asleep, and my mom had to come and get me.  If he was fixing a 4 wheeler or his tractor and getting dirty and greasy, I was flipping my bicycle upside down and playing with the chain and tires right beside him . . . just so my hands could be black like his.

If you were to look up the term “Daddy’s girl”, it would describe me 100%.  So this has been extremely hard on me, most especially because of how sudden everything happened.

My dad was known for his music. He couldn’t read music and learned to play everything by ear, and he was very good.  Although he could play other instruments, piano was what he loved.  His trademark song is Floyd Cramer’s Last Date.  I remember him playing for hours on end to perfect that song. He wanted it to sound like Floyd Cramer, but he also wanted to add his own touch.

I remember teaching myself how to play it on the flute when I was in high school. I practiced when he wasn’t home, and I surprised him one day when I felt I had gotten it down good enough. We would play it together often. It was our “thing.”

I never learned how to play piano, though. I wanted to, but we didn’t have money for lessons, and he didn’t know how to teach me because he didn’t know how to read the music. I believe I inherited a little bit of my daddy’s ear, but I certainly can’t hear something and play a song like he does, and I don’t even understand the concept of chords or playing the piano with two hands. Nevertheless, when I got home from the funeral Saturday, I decided I wanted to learn how to play Last Date on the piano, but I only wanted to learn from Daddy and in his style.  It was already 1 AM when we got home, but I still had the urge to at least attempt it.  I spent about a half hour playing over and over again a video of my daddy playing the song, and I tried to match it on the keyboard he had given to my kids.

Without me knowing, my husband recorded me with all my determination and a whole lot of stumbling.  I watched the recording of me, and I think for the first time in my life, I didn’t care about the fact that my fingers stumbled all over the place. I didn’t care how many mistakes I was making. Instead, I found myself being so proud of how quickly I was picking it up, and I felt like Daddy would be proud of me, too. He didn’t show emotion much, but I can imagine myself showing him what I had just taught myself, and I can see the pride in his eyes. The thing is, I know that pride wouldn’t just come from the fact that I was learning quickly. His pride would be in the fact that I’m doing something he loves, and I’m doing it to spend time with him.

I ended up posting this video on facebook just because. I feel like this may be my “thing” when I’m really missing him – playing something he loves.

Below you’ll find the link to my post that night.  You don’t have to click it, but I’m sharing because this is a video of the very first time I not only played daddy’s favorite song on the piano, but it’s the first time I played it with my daddy.  I only wish I would have done that while he was here, but I can’t get lost in my thoughts of what I should have done.

If you look at the first comment in that thread, there’s a link to my daddy playing the song. I’m so thankful he recorded some of his playing so we have it to remember him, and we can pass his memory on to the 13 grand kids and, so far, 3 great grand kids, and all the generations that will follow.

Please enjoy (but don’t judge)  🙂 Click Here For the Video

Daddy's Girl2

Just a few short months ago, I was able to dance with my daddy for the first and last time. I will cherish that moment forever.

 

Relationships, Distractions, and Unopened Letters

Letters

The other day someone dear to me mentioned the struggle with hearing God’s voice.  I asked this person the same questions I ask myself when I feel like I’m having trouble hearing God:

  • How often do you read your bible?
  • How often do you read your bible and really reflect and study the words you’re reading?
  • How often do you pray, and what are your prayers like? Are they like a conversation with a friend or family member, or are they more like running through your “to do” list for the day?
  • How often do you spend quality time with God? Meaning not just talking to God and then going on with your day but talking and then reading or journaling or just being still and silent?
  • How often are you silent during your time with God?

These questions were in no way asked in judgment, but these are my “go to” questions when someone says they’re having difficulty hearing God’s voice.  Definitely don’t take it as me saying I do all these things perfectly and hear his voice 100% of the time because that’s far from being true.  That’s why I’ve had to ask myself these same questions more often than I’d like to admit.

After going through these questions, this person was able to discover for herself what the root of her problem was. She wasn’t spending enough time with God.

Pen Pals

When I was younger I had a pen pal that I had met one summer while visiting my aunt. We wrote each other for years. I would get so excited to receive a letter from her, and I hoped she was just as excited with letters I sent. We learned so much about each other through our letters, and every time I visited my aunt during the summers, all I wanted to do was run over to her house.  We spent most of my visits playing with one another, and then we would continue writing when I went back home.

Even though we only saw each other once a year, we were practically best friends.  It’s sad I don’t even remember when or why or how we stopped writing.  Even worse is I can’t so much as remember her name now.  If we were to pass each other in the store, I wouldn’t recognize her.  That was so many years ago.

Having a relationship with God is similar to having a pen pal you met while on vacation once.  Almost like clockwork, you two write each other regularly. In the beginning, you’re so eager to open the letters, but as time goes by, you find you’re only skimming over her words and maybe don’t even finish reading all of the letters because a friend sends a text inviting you to hang out for a while, or one of your kids spills his drink all over the floor, or you finally have a moment to yourself to close your eyes. It becomes harder to find the time to really sit and take in everything she’s writing, but every so often you make sure to quickly jot down some things about your day or school or work or friends and send a letter in return.

Eventually and without realizing it, you stop reading her letters altogether. In fact, her letters have a special location on the bookshelf. Most are unopened, but you keep them there because you have every intention of reading those special letters . . . one day . . . when you have time. Right now, you’re just too busy.

Your pen pal, though, continues to intently read everything you write, even the letters that look like chicken scratch and have what appears to be coffee stains and maybe even something that resembles part of a grocery list on the back of it.  Still, she enjoys reading them and smiles at those imperfections. She knows that means you are leading an active life, and that’s just another piece of knowledge she loves learning about you.

A few times your pen pal writes asking for a time and place to meet and catch up in person because she just learned she will be traveling to your town in a few weeks. She can’t wait to see you and talk to you in person.

Since you haven’t so much as opened your letters, you never respond. She continues to ask, though.  In every letter she sends, she asks. In her latest letter, she didn’t ask. Instead, she writes the date and time her flight will land and says she plans to stop by your house first . . . unless you let her know you aren’t available at that time.

She calls to tell you her flight has landed, but you don’t answer numbers you don’t recognize.

Her voice mail says, “Hey, I just got in town. Can’t wait to see you!”

You don’t recognize the voice and assume it was a wrong number.  Then, there’s a knock at the door. You open it and see a somewhat familiar face, but you can’t quite place who she is, yet she certainly seems to know a lot about you.

Are You Reading Your Letters?

Our relationship with God can easily turn into this. A relationship can’t be one-sided, but so often we treat our relationship with God like it is. We talk to him when we need something or to quickly give thanks for our meal, but that’s not how you build a friendship. If we don’t open his word and pause our busy lives long enough to really take in the words he’s written to us, we will forget what we’ve previously learned about him and lose out on learning new things.

When we are the only ones talking in the relationship, we will eventually forget what his voice sounds like, and one day when he calls we may find we don’t even recognize the voice on the other end.

I can’t stress enough that you will most certainly struggle to hear God’s voice unless you spend time listening to it and learning who he is. It doesn’t mean you are this awful person if you go a day or a week or more without reading his word and sitting with him, but don’t let too much time go by. The more you spend that quality time with him, the easier it is to recognize when he’s talking to you.