I will never forget one of the most intimate and powerful, affirming interactions that I had with my father. I was a senior in high school and we had just lost our game in the Texas State Basketball Tournament in Austin. I had played a decent game but we ended up losing by 11 points and I can remember feeling totally responsible for the loss. Growing up, I had always dreamed of winning a state championship and I had fallen short. The bottom line was I just did not perform up to expectations and the standards I had set for myself. I felt like I had let my coach, team, town and, most importantly, my dad down!
I remember laying in bed the next morning not wanting to get out of bed. I could smell the bacon and eggs waft in from the kitchen. My mother called me two or three times to come to the table. I just laid in bed replaying the events of the night before over and over in my head. What could I have done differently? Why hadn’t I played better?
In a little while, I heard the door crack open. It was my dad. I knew I was probably in hot water because I hadn’t responded to my mother’s calls to come to the table. “Son,” he said in an almost unfamiliar voice. I was expecting the firm, authoritative tone that I knew all too well.
“Yes, sir?” I offered as I laid still in bed. He walked in the room and closed the door behind him. He made his way over to my bed and I will for always remember what happened next. He laid his large frame down on the bed next to me. Well, actually it was mostly on top of me because I had a twin size bed. Now, I am 6 ft. 6 inches tall so I pretty much filled up that bed by myself. But, my dad was about 6 ft. 3 inches tall and, at that time, weighed around 350 lbs.
As he lowered himself on to the bed, I felt him stroke my hair on the back of my head and he leaned in and kissed me softly on the cheek several times. While I was basically suffocating from his weight pressing down on my rib cage, I can remember how astonished I was at the tenderness and kindness of his actions towards me. A tear rolled down my cheek.
The smell of bacon and eggs gave way to the scent of Vitalis and Old Spice as my father hovered next to me. Then, he whispered softly into my ear. “Bryon, if you never score another basket or make another touchdown, I love you and I am proud of you…..” he briefly paused, “….because you are my son.”
He laid there for a minute or two longer as I cried. I can’t explain everything that his words did for me that day but it relieved me from a burden of disappointment and imparted to me a perspective of what truly mattered. While my performance and losing the game seemed so HUGE in my perspective at the time, the love, acceptance and affirmation of my father helped me to re-frame temporal events in the context of what really matters.
Then, he got up, slapped me on my butt and said in a very familiar tone, “You come to the table when your mother calls you!”
Today is my 47th birthday. I would like to re-post the post that I presented last year at this time. I have edited it so that it reflects my 47th instead of my 46th birthday.
Keep your peace!
Today is my 47th birthday. Wow!
While I enjoy birthday celebrations just as much as the next guy, my birthday has never been the same since June 10, 2006.
If you travel East on Highway 84 heading out of a little town by the name of Tenaha (pronounced; Ten – a- ha) in East Texas, after a couple of miles you will come to County Road 4475. On your left hand-side, you will see the Ramah Baptist Church and adjacent to the little church, you will see a cemetery.
In that cemetery, you will find the memorial marker for both my father, William Charles John Wiebold, Sr. and, my mother, Betty Jane Wiebold. On the side that bears my father’s name, you will find that the date of his passing was June 10, 2006; my 40th birthday.
I will never forget that day as it has had a profound impact on my life. It was a Saturday. Strangely enough, I was in a business meeting when I received the phone call that Dad had passed away. Earlier that morning, he had called me to wish me a happy birthday. We talked briefly about things and, as always, he shared a bit about “what the Lord had been showing him.” The last words my father ever spoke to me and the last words I ever spoke to him happened as we hung up the phone that day. They were the same with the exception of one word. ”I love you, son.” he said. ”I love you, Dad.” I replied.
Had I known what would have transpired after I hung up the phone, I would have kept him on the line and driven from Dallas back to East Texas immediately. Just one more hug! Just to hear him laugh one more time! Just to have him preach to me a little while longer. Just to see him!
My father was 80 years of age when he passed away. I was officially 40. Through my father’s passing, the Father began speaking to me about certain things; the importance of generations, Father/Son relationship, understanding an orphan spirit, receiving the Spirit of Sonship, etc. Over the years, I have continued to delve deeper into the revelations and truths I have been shown about those types of things. They are important in understanding God as Father and what He is truly desiring to reveal to all of us.
I realize that such revelations are part of the spiritual heritage that my earthly father vested in me. I honor him for the price he paid to know God the way in which he did. Oh, no! He was not a perfect man. He had his own way of looking at things and he was not shy about sharing them. In my arrogant zeal as a young man, I prided my self on the fact that I wouldn’t be like my dad in certain ways. Now, as I get older, the wiser he becomes!
Some how, some way, whether he knew what he was doing or not, my father was able to seed into my life a love for God and His Word. In the 7 years since his passing, I’ve learned more about my Heavenly Father than I ever knew before. The reason for this is because my dad was able to break the chain of powerless religious traditions in the family line and instill in me, not only the courage and fortitude, but the responsibility to seek God in an authentic, adventurous fashion. For that, I will be forever grateful and I seek to do the same in all those with whom I disciple, train or relate.
So, today, as I celebrate my birthday, I will be beyond the grief of losing my father and focusing on the One he pointed me toward. I will carry my dad with me always for I am my father’s son and I am honored to be so. But, my Father is desiring to reveal His Son in me and that is worth celebrating in this life!
Keep your peace!