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..: stories

..: Realty Services

When I was ten or so, I remember my dad taking us to his realty services offices, where he worked. It was late and nobody was there, and I wandered alone while he did some work. In my boredom, I looked around and looked at people's desks. It started simply. I moved staplers, pencil holders, then some picture frames. Took things from people's drawers, and put them in other people's desks. Just put things where they shouldn't be. In one conference room, there was a big board with colored thumbtacks strategically marking out locations. I moved several of them around. In the back of the offices, near the water cooler, there was a large chalkboard with employee sales records. I changed some of those numbers around as well. In about an hour, I had turned that place upside down, secretly. I hated that place, and I never knew it until I was there. It was the office where my dad had to work long hours now. Ever since he started doing the realty thing, we didn't go on family trips, and he was hardly ever home. If this is what he did, I hated it, and the employees would find out in the morning. I vaguely remember mom saying he got in trouble over it, but he never said anything to me. I wish he had.

I've been leading music now for so many years. I've led the music they play in these younger churches, and some of those songs are songs of joy sung to a heavenly father. In the last few years, my dad has started trying to join us when the band would play near La Palma. And once when he came to visit, he took pictures while I sang. That night we played a song that had the lyrics "My Father, I love you" over and over. And I couldn't stand it, I couldn't sing it, it felt all wrong. You don't sing that you love your Heavely Father when you don't have things in order with your earthly one.

I had that dream again the other day. The one where my dad dies, and we never made things right. He just went golfing, came home and passed away. I'll go to see him on his death bed, and I'll realize I haven't looked on his face for so long since I was a child, and I needed him. And maybe he'll think the same thing, wondering how I grew up so fast. With only five or so weeks until I'm married, I can't help but think some sort of window with him is passing. And I think about how I test him with the wedding, test him to see if he will do the simple things we ask him to do, like go and get fitted for a tux. He hasn't done it, even though I've been asking him to for months. Now my best man has that task of calling and reminding him. Kj's dad went and got himself fitted months ago, only a week after we asked him to go. I can't help but compare, and I can't help but see that my wife, and her family are of a different caliber of people; and I think about her father especially. How, when he was young, he didn't have enough money for a sweater or his own so he had to wear his older sister's, which had shoulder pads and must have been humiliating. Her father is man clearly marked by prayer, by servanthood, and by gentleness. So often I am angry with my father, and I always wonder why. Mostly, I think it is because of the profound lack of inheritence I am left with in the way of spiritual things. Last Sunday, the message was about barrenness, and how it precedes time of growth. I have a good father in law, and just being around him, I know there is a God of second chances, long suffering and enduring love. I could not have asked for a better father in law.

In my last year at UCLA, I met a student named Joey that told me he knew there was a God because of one reason: his grandfather, whom he loved dearly. His grandfather must have had a profound impact on him. And I am certain his grandfather did not influence with words, or even wisdom, but with consistency, faith, prayer and patience. Those things burn into a person like nothing else.

you are the fountain of my life
and in your light i find my reason
your love reaches to the stars
even the great deep
and your love reaches to this heart
and it makes me sing

your love reaches me
it's what i need, it's what I need.

Lord how priceless is your unending love
both high and low find refuge in your shadow
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