By Cindy Koch –
My childhood memories of my father are not complete. I can only remember certain days, certain places, certain things that we did together. My sister and I recently talked about our memories and tried to fill in the blanks for each other. We remembered little things like ice cream trips, putting gas in the car, bike rides, and board games. It seems as if there was a lifetime of things that we have forgotten now that we moved into our own world of husband, kids, and adult life.
My father travelled when I was a girl and I’m told that he was often gone. But when I think about my dad, I can remember the times when he was at home. Truth be told, I learned the character of my dad from a very young age. When I would be less than an angel for my mom (and that was very often) I remember looking forward to those words, “wait ‘til your father gets home.” It did not hold the terror and fear of punishment. In my experience, my mother had exhausted every good discipline technique she ever learned, and she had no more energy to deal with me. My father brought patience and a calm resolution.
I was so cared for by my Father, that I came to expect this gracious and loving attitude from all men. As I stretched my wings away from the safe nest of home, boys came and went. Without even knowing it I was always measuring them up to my dad. When a boy was dishonest and broke my heart, I knew somehow this was not right. Men were supposed to love and care for women. When a boy tried to quickly move a relationship in the physical direction, I was bold enough to want something more. I could always look back to the anchor that was my Father; one who would take care of me.
In college I had an amazing professor, Dr. Rosenbladt, and I finally realized what treasure my dad had given me. The theological students at Concordia University flocked to this particular man because of his unashamed teaching of the freedom of the Gospel. They loved this man because he cared for them and their education. He did not hold the rules over their heads, rather he broke the rules for their sake. I remember a moment of teary panic when my car had a flat tire and this man patiently looked at me, and calmly explained that he was going to take care of it. That’s when it hit me, Dr. Rosenbladt was my father!
The loving mercy that both he and my father have shown to me is not just a strange coincidence. They reflect the compassion that we dare to expect from our Father in Heaven. I was fortunate enough to have been given an earthly father who taught me. Not everyone has this; but God does not leave his children alone. The patience and kindness of God is given to us through Christ. Christ’s words are spoken on the lips of men like Dr. Rosenblat and my father. I am forgiven, I am comforted, and I can’t wait until my Father comes home for good.