IV Press Article 6-21-19 ### Viewpoint: Memories of my father

Rev Ron Griffen.jpg

“Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”?” — John 14:8-9

 

Last Sunday, Father’s Day, was a time to remember the full meaning of fatherhood, and that no matter what kind of relationship we have had with our fathers, an ever-present God longs to be in relationship with us as witnessed by the life of Jesus. I know I have come to my faith through the love and care of both my mother and my father.

In May, I wrote about my mom. Today, I want to write about my dad. WWII Navy veteran, engineer, quiet, well read, inquisitive — that was my dad. These are some of the memories of my dad, who died in 2004, that I’ve been thinking about recently.

I remember when I was a teenager, and beginning to surf, I wanted to get a St. Christopher medal to wear as a necklace. All the guys had them. I told my dad and he asked me why I wanted to do that. More importantly he also asked me whether I knew who St. Christopher was.

I confess I had no idea. But I realized I had better find out if I was going to wear a medal bearing his image. So I did.

That was dad. Something else he used to say to me was, “Always tell the truth. That way you don’t have to remember what you’ve said.”

When he would wrestle with my brother and me he would say, “Someone’s going to get hurt, and it’s not going to be me!” I remember the first time I said that while wrestling with my son I distinctly heard my dad’s voice, and not mine.

One time in church I was sitting between Mom and Dad, and when we got up to sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” my dad broke into a bass harmony while my mom began to sing the alto part. I was completely taken by the sound of musical harmony. I think that was the beginning of my interest in music. “Holy, Holy, Holy” remains one of my favorite hymns.

Dad was pretty patient with us kids for the most part. I was in high school when the first Super Bowl was played. Being played at the LA Coliseum, the game was blacked out locally. My brother and I decided we could take the small black-and-white TV we had, carry it up the huge pepper tree next to the house, and set it up on the roof, which was flat. Dad kept a watchful eye, but never said we couldn’t do it.

We set up an aluminum antennae guaranteed to get the San Diego station, and we sat there for three hours watching nothing but snow. And an occasional ghost of a figure move across the screen. Dad never said we were stupid, or crazy. He just let us figure it out.

Among my favorite times were Sunday afternoons making homemade ice cream. We had this wooden bucket and crank. We’d get a 25-pound block of ice and break it up, pack the bucket, throw in the rock salt. Mom made the custard and we would put it in the bucket and crank. One time I wanted to crank, so Dad let me. I made it around about four or five turns and couldn’t go any more. Then I felt dad’s hand on mine.

And together we made ice cream. I have the feeling that’s just like God’s love for us.

 

The Rev. Ron Griffen is lead pastor of First United Methodist Church in El Centro. 

https://www.ivpressonline.com/opinion/columns/viewpoint-memories-of-my-father/article_e4170800-93c3-11e9-b427-5344a350a1f2.html