Today is my father’s birthday. He is in his mid 50’s. I am very blessed to have him as a father.
When I was growing up we lived overseas. My father was the Director for Christian Reformed World Relief Committee in Bangladesh. Initially my parents were stationed in Bogra, about 6 months into their marriage. This was one of the bigger cities, but still very third world. My parents knew they were expecting me so my mother, an anxious first time mother, packed a large ship container full of all of the things she would need.
When the container arrived in B’desh (short form) the ship dock workers in Chittagong were on strike and our container was thrown over the side in a fight. Eventually when things got back to normal and when I was 6 months old my mother got a chance to go and hunt for their container and found it spread out and all destroyed. She made it through those first days without all of her stuff anyways.
To make matters even more interesting, when I was born my father was actually in the rural ‘hospital’ run by the Roman Catholic Nuns with delirious with some disease. My mother had to ride a rickshaw into town over the rutted oxen path while in labour. At first they tried to send her away. It turns out too many children were dying.
When they realized they couldn’t send her anywhere they rushed in and sprayed off an entire room with disinfectant and to this day my mother is intensely nauseated when smelling certain disinfectants!
My father was told repeatedly that he had a baby girl. I am told he replied, “I know I’m going to have a baby!” After a day or two it sunk in…
I am also told about how my mother would take the rickshaw into Bogra daily to bring my father lunch. This was during my afternoon nap. My Ayah was to watch me. It turns out the House Steward was selling tickets and shortly after my mother would leave and was far enough away from the house a large line-up would form of people waiting to see the white baby.
One day my mother forgot an item and returned home to see this long line up. She wondered what was going on, but soon realized that the people were filing slowly by my cradle on the screened and wired off porch. The Steward was given a form of “community service” for his crime and I am told I was carted to the office daily from that point on!
But those are not my memories. Naturally I have many, but one of my favourite memories of living overseas and relating to my father is that of how he would teach my brothers and I.
My father was and is a very involved father. The majority of the time his position did require him to be gone a lot. Honestly, I can not remember that he was gone all that often, but I do have a diary and have read that I did write about this absence.
But when Dad was there, and in the later years of our lives there, he would take us each individually, once a week, to his office a few blocks away and spend over an hour with us leading us in Bible study.
I was one day older than 14 when I returned to Canada, and I know that in the later years my father’s travelling was greatly reduced. But our study times grew.
My father gave my a rich heritage of faith. During our study times he always encouraged and led me to believe that I have a brain and that I needed to use it when reading God’s Word. My father and I would often spend our hour deep in discussion of many topics. Our hour would grown into two and then mother would call!
I am so truly grateful for this! Words can not express.
And having father’s office close enough to home was a great blessing. Although Dad would likely say there were negative times too. I distinctly running into a major meeting one day in a rage with a large clump of my hair in my hand, roots, skin and blood. Dad says that I threw the lump at the table in a rage and exclaimed, “LOOK at what YOUR son did to me!” and fell into hysterics! 😆 I am not sure what the Canadian and US Ambassadors thought of that but Dad never really says! 😆
Either way, I do know that I knew my father was there for me then and is there for me now and I love him dearly and praise God for this great blessing! I know many of children do not get the chance to grow up in a home like mine. I know my husband is one of those children. It grieves me so very often to hear of the hurt and trauma suffered all too often.
Yet today, I am offering up a prayer of Thanksgiving on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend for my father and a prayer that God bless his coming year!