You’ve probably never heard of Yarbo. Unless, of course, you’ve spent some time tooling through Washington County, Alabama. This unincorporated community, positioned halfway between Chatom and Millry, flies by your car window pretty fast on Highway 17. A couple of old chicken houses, an abandoned softball field, a few house trailers, that’s about it.
At least that’s how it looks through my window. Yarbo is a place on the way to some other place.
My dad had a different view.
On his regular excursions between Millry, his home at the time, and Chatom or Mobile, he would notice a singular figure sitting in the shade of one of those mobile homes. An older black gentleman would spend hours there, offering a friendly wave at passers-by. And there in the warmth of those Southwest Alabama summer days, my father found a kindred spirit.
He waved back.
Eventually he came to look for his nameless friend and would make a point of tooting his horn and waving. Though separated by all the things that make for TV news sound bites – race and economic status and culture and probably politics – each of these men found in a simple gesture a point of connection.
That wasn’t enough for my dad. [click to continue…]
(My dad with Great-Grandchild #9, Archer Wiley)
I’ve been simmering on this for a while, and I figured since I’m away from home this Father’s Day, this would be a good day and a good way to honor my dad. My daughter Carrie did this for me last year and reposted it again here. I also wrote this about what I learned from my Mama last year.
Regardless of the many influences and teachers I’ve been blessed by over the years, none of them has taught or influenced me more than my dad. I have mentioned often that I was blessed to have a father who actually wanted to be a dad and influenced me to want to be one. With 8 grandkids of my own now, I would say that desire has definitely passed through to another generation.
There are many practical things my dad taught me over the years, including how to drive a nail, play dominos, put on a jacket without bunching up your sleeve, ride a bicycle, and bathe the 36 different body parts that need cleaning up every day.
But what interests me most are the ideas that still speak to me today as principles. These are transferrable to almost any endeavor. I could just as well title this, “Ten Things My Dad Would Teach to Pastors,” or “Ten Things My Dad Could Teach to School Teachers.”
So here, in no certain order, are ten lessons that still speak to me most every day. I’m sure there are many more than this, but these are for starters. See if they don’t speak to you on some level, while my daddy says, “Your welcome!” [click to continue…]
The room was completely remodeled.
New drywall, carpet and wallpaper with clowns and balloons.
New furniture filled the space.
New little outfits filled the drawers.
Oh my, the diapers. [click to continue…]
They were two branches off the same Vine.
Designed in the Vine’s image, each a was unique expression of the nature of its Creator. One was tender and sensitive, with stunning intuitive wisdom. The other was strong and masculine, with a compelling view toward the horizon.
They loved being branches of the Vine. And they loved each other. But they’d cut themselves off from the flow of the Vine’s life. They believed the lie that they could thrive on their own. The result: An odd combination of life and death in the same form.
Form without flow.
Image without reality.
As they dreamed of a future together, they asked one another, “How can we shape ourselves so our offspring can know our love and be fruitful?” [click to continue…]
“Joel Andrew Wood! I call you to walk with me in Integrity, Responsibility, and Accountability, and to join me in this community of men!”
There, through a line of tiki torches and a longer gauntlet of whooping, encouraging, cheering men walked my son. For fourteen years I had been his hero. Tonight he would be mine.
As he reached the end of the double line where I was standing, I placed a special necklace around his neck that he has to this day. Then I turned him to face those men and said some of the most powerful words I have ever spoken: “Gentlemen, this is Joel Andrew Wood, my son, in whom I am well pleased.”
I have always lived with the honor of walking in my own father’s unconditional favor – even when he didn’t always approve of my choices. On this night 11 years ago, I had the greater honor of publicly declaring that same kind of blessing over my son.
A Fatherless, Manless Culture
Ours may be the only culture that has no formal point where a boy becomes a man. [click to continue…]
Took a look at the funnies the other day. To be honest, I read them for the laughter. But I noticed something else in the process. Call me sensitive, or call me curious, but I was intrigued at the ways dads are presented. If it’s true that art imitates life, we may have some big problems. With fathers. With God. With ourselves.
Who is Father? According to the comics, he is Dagwood, the family calamity. He lives to sleep, or to eat, or to deal with the occasional salesman. He’s loveable, but always a little bit late, and about one brick shy of a load.
Who is Father? [click to continue…]
I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”
And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me
-Harry Chapin, “Cat’s in the Cradle”
He’s an old man now. His physical vision is virtually gone; his heartbeat will soon follow. His spiritual vision? That’s another story. It’s still bright and filled with fire and hope. But it’s a vision that now sees through the eyes of other men. He has no children of his own, but does have a relationship with a man who may as well be. He’s one of those blessed individuals who knows his time is up, and who faces eternity with no regrets. And now he writes the man he calls his son in the faith. His future looks bright; he can only pray the same for Tim.
Stand steady, and don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Bring others to Christ. Leave nothing undone that you ought to do. I say this because I won’t be around to help you very much longer. My time has almost run out. Very soon now I will be on my way to heaven. I have fought long and hard for my Lord, and through it all I have kept true to him. And now the time has come for me to stop fighting and rest (2 Timothy 4:5-7, LB).
A decade before I became a father myself, Harry Chapin sucker-slapped dads everywhere. [click to continue…]
Fran Cotton is a PK – a preacher’s kid. She saw love demonstrated by her pastor/father in a myriad of ways.
In response to my request for love stories, Fran shared the following example of how loving your neighbor can make you zigzag your way across your yard – and into someone else’s heart.
[click to continue…]
(updated September 29, 2009)
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/EBM854BTGL0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]Okay, if you aren’t one of the millions of people who has seen this three-year-old’s stunning summary of Star Wars (Episode IV), let me be the first to introduce you. This little girl had seen the movie only once, and her dad spread it over three days so it wouldn’t be too much all at once for her. She started retelling the story to him in much more vivid detail even than here, but alas, he says, the camera wasn’t rolling. So he got her to start over. He says:
She wasn’t coached to say anything, nor was she forced to make the video. She rarely stops talking. Those of you with children understand this: sometimes it’s harder to turn the faucet off than to turn the faucet on.
This isn’t about Star Wars. I really don’t care whether you are a complete fool for Luke, Chewbacca and the gang, or whether you think the series is completely evil, or even whether you’ve seen it. It’s about something much more profound.
[click to continue…]
Lisa Collins is a friend, a ministry partner, an extraordinary worship leader, and a bride-to-be. In response to my request for love stories, she wrote to me about how her father modeled God’s grace. I think you’ll like it! Here goes….
The casual observer might glance at my Dad and not notice anything that distinguishes him from any other man. He is average in height and build. His hair is showing some gray-which is expected of a man in his sixties who survived raising two daughters. His home is modest and under a mortgage. His job is nothing that will bring him acclaim, wealth or notoriety – he is a plumber. He is a husband. He is a father. He is a “B-Poppa”-short for “Big Poppa” in case you don’t speak his granddaughter, Daphnee’s, language.
[click to continue…]