A Father's Shadow

This Hub is dedicated to my father Billy Joe Rushing Who went to be with Jesus on March 30th 2011. He was 80 years old. The following was my contribution to his memorial service. I post it here simply because I want the world to know that I loved my Dad.


When a father dies, slowly year after year his image fades in the minds of his descendants. In time, all that is left of his life is the impact he made on the hearts and character of his children and grand children. My father’s life was shaped by his father Willie Lloyd Rushing. Who in turn was shaped by his father Doc Rushing, creating an invisible chain that connects each of us to the character of our fore fathers.

It can be compared to a shadow. That image of ourselves that is cast upon the ground as we walk. I believe the shadow that a father casts, out lives him. It stretches into the horizons of time and leaves his image on the conscience of his children and his children's children. Good or bad, the effects of his character remain long after the memory of his existence.

I find that I take after my mother both in personality, appearance, and interests. Never the less, my father’s shadow can be seen in my life in several areas.

Like my father, I have never been drunk and have no interest in alcohol. My father made a decision early in his life to abstain from alcohol of any kind. This was a conviction that he felt very strongly about. He tells a story where he was going into a bar and as soon as his hand touched the door knob God spoke to him. I love how God put it to him. “That’s not for you Bub!” And so he immediately turned around and left. That’s how it was with my Dad. Once God spoke to him. There was no turning him aside from his conviction.

Like my Dad, My first language is Oky. I loved to hear my father talk. Instead of washing his hands and face and thawing his meat. My Dad always worshed his hands and unthawed his meat. I was probably 15 or 16 before one of my friends pointed out the oddity of my speech. I had to train myself to speak properly. When I run across someone with a real thick Oklahoma accent. I find that I naturally fall into the rhythm and words of that dialect. In no time, I am talking just like them.

Dad was able to boil things down to its simplest form. He had some great saying. In few words he could communicate volumes of emotion and reason. My favorites are “Rain on um” and “Yes Dear” I have never been able to master the delivery of these two terms as my father did. He was a expert. When executed correctly and with the proper tone. They will win every argument known to man.

I have 5 kids. Like my Dad, I have three girls and two boys. Giving me insight into his hardship’s as a husband and a father. This connection to him has helped me find grace for him. It has enabled me to forgive him for his mistakes in my life. There can be no doubt that he was not a perfect father. But my own struggles with my family have helped me appreciate and understand why he did many of the things he did. For the record, I pray that I can be as good a father to my children as he was to me!

My Dad always wore a hat outside. If asked why? He would say it was to keep his old bald head form burnen. I have a small bold spot on the back of my head that I am keeping a close eye on. I am reminded of this spot every time one of my kids sees it, which seems to be growing in frequency the larger it gets. They like to tease me by saying I am starting to look like Papa! Unfortunately, this too has come to be a reminder of my father.

As a source of comfort, I remember a bumper sticker he had on one of his trucks that read “Bald is beautiful.” Indeed my Dad made being bald look good. If I am to go bald, may I look as good as he did!

Of all the areas in my life where his shadow is revealed, there is one area that is most precious. I have his hands. I discovered this about 5 years ago while he was helping me repair a door. We were both holding the door in such a way that our hands were next to each other. I noticed it immediately, they were identical. At the time I had no idea how God would use this reality to impact my life.

When I look at my hands I am reminded of him. I am humbled by the fact that it was while he was serving me, that I discovered this connection. That it is with his hands my father worked and served others both friends and family.

He was not a man who showed his emotion. The words “I love you” did not fall easily from his lips. My father showed people that he loved them by doing things for them. By showing kindness. Through my fathers hands I am reminded that Love is not only an emotion but primarily an action. We can tell people we love them all day long, but it doesn’t mean a thing until we show them our love. This my father did in abundance. If I were to take a poll of the people here. I expect that at some time in your life my father showed you a kindness. It would have been through his servant’s heart where he aided you in some task. It would have been through a practical joke, or a loving jab at your character where he would have laughed his head off, assuring you that he didn’t mean anything by it.

If you have tasted his home made noodles at a men’s meeting, or had your child lovingly comforted in the nursery during Sunday service, then you have seen my dad’s love for you. If you have had a pleasant conversation or had him tell you a story from his past. He was telling you he loved you. In this way he was sharing a part of himself with you.

My father was a humble servant who’s greatest joy was helping others. When I look at my hands, I am reminded that I have been given my fathers hands. The primary tool my dad used to serve God and his friends and loved ones. They remind me of his humility and his servants heart. When I look at my hands I am reminded to serve others.

Indeed his shadow has been permanently cast across my character and in turn it will be cast across the character of my children. They may not understand all the things that motivate me. But second only to my desire to honor God is my desire to honor my Dad and his memory.

I have found that the more a father is loved the longer his memory remains in the hearts and minds of his decedents. I love my Dad and I intend that he be long remembered by my children and my children’s children. If I have my way his shadow will never fade.


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Comments 13 comments

LVN 5 years ago

I want to say thanks for sharing your heart.


DexisView profile image

DexisView 5 years ago from New England

I could feel the love for your dad and family. Thanks for sharing.


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 5 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

Very touching and so lovingly expressed. I am sure he feels it too. I am just about in tears. My Mother is 92 and suffering from/with dementia and I see her leaving me bit by bit everyday. I just hope I can write something as wonderfully as you have when the time comes..God Bless You and all of us...:O) Hugs G-Ma "Sorry for your lose,I can see it hurt"


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Beautiful eulogy! I am sorry for your loss. My half sisters lost their father a few weeks ago and I know it is a hard time. Thanks for sharing!

JSMatthew~


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 5 years ago from Los Angeles

This was beautifully written and very moving. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. I'm sorry for your loss. You both obviously loved each other very much.

Bless you for keeping the memories of him alive for your kids and future generations.


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 5 years ago from USA- Florida Author

Thanks LVN. I know you love him just as much as I do.


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 5 years ago from USA- Florida Author

Dexisview

Thanks for stopping by. I am honored that you took the time to read about my Dad.

God Bless

ABR


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 5 years ago from USA- Florida Author

G-Ma Johnson:

I have read some of your struggles with your mother. I have said a prayer for each of you with each reading. Like my father she has had a good go at it. I too can see your love for her shine through.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I am truly honored.

God Bless

ABR


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 5 years ago from USA- Florida Author

Thanks for stopping by JS Matthew. I will pray for your half sister. Death is always hard as you say. But he had a good long life. He out lived both his father and his Grandfather and he was fairly healthy right up to the end. He was surrounded by his family right up till the end. It could have been a lot harder. God was Good to him.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and for your kind words of comfort.

God Bless

ABR


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 5 years ago from USA- Florida Author

cat on a soapbox:

What an interesting name, Love it. Thank you for your kind words. Indeed this was personal But he was worth being vulnerable for.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting I am grateful.

God Bless

Aaron


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 5 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

ABR...well my dear Thank you..as I could feel the love you have for your dad...May God Bless you always...:O) Hugs G-Ma


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

Abrushing,

Now the world knows of your deep love for your dad. So beautiful and touching and a gift to all of us on behalf of your dad.


Patience Morris profile image

Patience Morris 5 years ago from Maryland

very beautiful and I understand, I lost my dad July 14th 2010

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