“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him to do it.” – Clarence Budington Kelland
My father started working in the logging business when he was just a teenager. He worked alongside my grandfather, and he worked hard. When he married my mom, they worked together sometimes with logging until they began to have children. At that point, my mother offered up her everyday life to care for my sister and I at home.
My father found his way into the coal business. To my understanding, he started at a lower level, washing the coal as an hourly worker. Eventually, he moved up ranks and became a foreman – a boss. My dad worked hard, but at a certain point, the coal industry began to die. I experienced first-hand how this hurt Eastern Kentucky, and how it affected my family. We still had food on the table and everything, but a noticeable dent in our lives had been made. The dent that I noticed, however, wasn’t financial.
The dent was time.
When the coal industry began to decline, my father was forced to begin jumping from job to job. When he would find a job, it wouldn’t take long before the company would go under or be bought out. It was hard to listen to him talk about how he could lose his job and that nothing was an actual guarantee. But what was the most difficult was when he was placed at a job that was over an hour away from home. He would drive daily to work. He would be gone majority of the day but made sure to come home every night. Unless, of course, there was a chance for snow or something, which would cause him to stay away.
Eventually, he left that job and worked at a different company. His new job was also an hour away, and was second shift, which was even worse — the only reason he had chosen the new job was because there was a pay increase. My mother, my sister, and I were all gone throughout the day and he didn’t come home until the middle of the night so we lost a lot of time together.
Through all of this, the greatest thing I have learned from my father is that you never give up and you do whatever it takes to care for the people you love. He has been through a lot, career wise, but he has never stopped trying. And I know that a big driving force in his life is his love for us. He won’t stop trying to find work, he won’t refuse a job even if it’s over an hour away, and he will even work a night shift at his age because he knows that we need it. He does all of this because he loves us, and it’s amazing to really sit down and take a moment to consider how much he has done.
Dad, if you’re reading this, thank you. Thank you for all of the sacrifices you have made for our family. Thank you for caring for us and for loving us. I love you and I am so thankful that you are my father. I am thankful that throughout all of our goofy moments, I have also had the opportunity to learn a lot from you! You’re the best and I couldn’t have ever imagined having a better dad than you.
Take a moment over this Father’s Day weekend to consider what your dad has done for you. What has he taught you? How has he helped you? What are good memories you have with your dad? What’s the funniest moment you had together? And remember to tell him that you love him!
Also remember that even if the man in your life who has supported you, helped raise you, and taught you a lot isn’t a blood-relative, he can still be valued on Father’s Day! Whoever your father figure is in your life, thank him and tell him you love him. Take the time to appreciate all that he has done for you.
And if you’re a follow of Jesus, keep in mind of all the things that your Heavenly Father has done for you too. His love is all powerful and everlasting. He sent his son to die on the cross for YOU. For all of us. If you don’t have an earthly father figure in your life on this Father’s Day weekend, remember that you do have a Father in Heaven who loves you and who is watching out for you!
Basically, Happy Father’s Day! Be with the people you love this weekend and have fun.
P.S. My dad now has a job close to home, which makes everything much better and a lot easier for him. We are still thankful, though, for all the work that he does. And mom, if you’re reading this, you didn’t get a special Mother’s Day blog post about you because I didn’t have the blog yet. Next year you will get one!