I'm fresh back from my church's women's retreat. As one of the four unmarried girls in attendance, I learned one thing from everyone else: having a husband is hard. One woman gave a testimony of how she went into her marriage with rose-colored glasses, expecting that her husband would adore her like her father had. When he fell short of her expectations, she became bitter and shrewish, driving her husband away. And though her story has a happy ending, with growth and reconciliation and true love, I couldn't help thinking to myself that I'm in big trouble if I ever get married.
Because honestly, there's no guy better than my dad.
So I'm fresh home from this retreat, right? My mom is preparing for her night shift, curled up on the couch, and my dad greets me with a hug. We sit down in the other room, quiet so as not to disturb, and blow-by-blow he catches me up on life at home from his perspective. About his battle with cordon bleu, his fix-it challenge with the bedroom lamp, his devastation over conflict with my sister, his gratification in a quality Sunday sermon. While I was gone and Sarah was away, my dad spent his weekend working, taking care of my mom and siblings, and holding down the fort; I forget sometimes what a big deal that is.
My dad has a genuine servant's heart. I was horrified to hear the women this weekend complain about going home, wracked with certainty that they would be faced with a sink full of dirty dishes and an empty refrigerator. That would never happen in my house. My heart sank for them when I heard them share their hurt at their husbands' shortcomings in listening. My dad has the wisest and most sympathetic ear. A few women laughed helplessly over how they occasionally felt neglected by their husbands, like they didn't matter. And all I could think of, it's funny, is how I always feel guilty asking my dad for permission for anything, because he hates to have to say no. He loves to dote on his family.
I've learned a lot about God the Father from my father in this world. Who could possibly live up to that?
Not that hanging out with a bunch of married people for a few days made me cynical about marriage: they had plenty of wonderful things to say, too. And granted, my dad's had 20 years of practice at this whole husband/father thing. So there's that.
Now Caleb and I are watching The Lawrence Welk Show [wait, what? I know!] and my dad is telling me about how my grandmother's favorite singer was Nora, and how smart the producer of this show was, and the best chart-toppers. "I think all these people lived their lives vicariously through this show," he's says referring to the predominantly elderly studio audience, and laughing as he taps his toe to the Bobby & Sissy number.
It doesn't seem fair, that there are girls who don't have dads like my dad, that there are ladies who don't have husbands like my mom's husband. I don't understand how it works, how you end up with who you end up with. But I never want to be guilty of not honoring my father like I ought to, especially because he is so deserving.