I am just catching my breath from an intense and humbling finish to my television baseball career. I never imagined I would receive the volume of kind words and love from my television colleagues. Finishing a season of life and getting older caused me to be reflective.
A country oldie from Paul Overstreet nailed my feelings.
I’m seein’ my father in me
I guess that’s how it’s meant to be
And I find I’m more and more like him each day
I realized that many of the kind things said about me could have been said about my father Paul during his long career in management at Mead Paper mill in Chillicothe, Ohio. I remember how kind he was to his employees and how he always made it about them and not himself. I remember resenting when he would skip evening family time to pay his respects at the funeral home to an employee who lost a loved one. I get it now. I recalled how he was kind to waitresses and everyone he came in contact with. He would feign meanness with car salesmen to get a good deal but I suspect they saw through him.
My father taught me so much about how to treat people but he was not without his flaws. No earthly father is. But even in those flaws he taught me so much. He taught me how to say hard and important things like these.
I was wrong.
I believe in you.
I love you no matter what you do.
Sometimes we butted heads. The lyrics of Overstreet’s song perfectly describe that journey.
And now lookin’ back I can recall the times we disagreed
When I could not take hold of his old fashioned ways
And the more I tried to prove him wrong
The more I proved him right
Now I know why he still stood by me
When I went through that stage
Over the years I have seen the influence of another Father in my life. My Heavenly Father has patiently shaped me through countless false starts and backward steps. When I read the comments from so many colleagues I am grateful. But I know how far I have progressed in my journey with Jesus and how far I still have to go.
If I have been patient it is because I now comprehend (somewhat) how patient my Father in Heaven has been to me. If I demonstrated grace it is because I was overwhelmed by a grace message that convinced me I was enough in Jesus and that nothing I could do would make me more loved or less loved by my Father. If I showed forgiveness it was because I have been forgiven over and over and over by God and without any score-boarding. Over many years I have seen the influence of the Father in my walk. I have so far to go but the same love, patience, grace, and forgiveness that brought me this far will take me home. Now I trust in a relationship that allows me to call God in the most intimate terms.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15, NLT
Abba. Papa. Daddy. Tim Keller brilliantly illustrates this access we have to our Father.
“The only person who dares wake up a king at 3:00 AM for a glass of water is a child. We have that kind of access.”
The song finishes with this line.
And I’m happy to see my father in me.
I am grateful for the influence of my earthly father. And I am looking forward to see what my Heavenly Father has for me in my next season. I hope you are trusting Abba Father in your season of life as well. There is no better place to be.