Friday, July 21, 2006
A Tribute to My Parents
My parents recently moved from Redding, CA to Lewistown, MT. They moved there so that my dad could pastor a small church that was on the verge of having to essentially close its doors. This is not the first time my parents have done something like this, leaving comfort and everything they know to go to a place simply because they feel the Lord is calling them there. The picture above is of Jordana and I on a trip to the coast with my parents the weekend before they left. We loved having them live close to us, they were actually just right down the street from us. We used to walk there all the time for dinner, to do laundry, and to watch Lost. While we were excited for them to move on to this new opportunity, it was a lot harder for us than we expected when they left. And, we seemed to re-learn the age-old life lesson that you don't realize until it's too late how valuable some people and things are in your life. In that light, I felt it fitting to honor my parents with a little tribute, as they are two of the most important people in my life and really pretty incredible. They're the type of people I want to share about with the world and proudly declare, "these are my parents!"
The way my parents met is actually pretty amazing. See, my dad grew up between Maryland and Illinois and since he was a little kid, he loved everything that had to do with being a mountain man, his favorite movie has always been Jeremiah Johnson. He even used to run trap lines when he was a kid and sell furs for extra money. Another one of my favorite things about my dad's past is that he played football in high school for a team called the Freeport Pretzels, they had big pretzels on the side of their helmets. He was also a real prankster when he was a kid, another of my favorite stories was this time that my dad tied fishing line to a bunch of clothes in his sister's closet and started moving them around at night so she thought someone or something was in her closet. Kinda mean, I admit, but super funny nonetheless. Anyway, after high school my dad joined the Marine Corps and he's got some pretty crazy stories from that time in his life as well. I know quite a bit about my dad's past, but sometimes I wish I knew more. I understand some of it is real hard for him to talk about because it was before he had a relationship with Jesus and there's some stuff he's not proud of, but sometimes I can't shake the feeling that there's more stuff I'd like to know about him. After the Marines, my dad moved to Montana to go to school to become a teacher and live out his dreams to be a mountain man. Anyone who's ever met my dad could tell you that his heart is in Montana. If there's a place on earth where he belongs, it's there, but it's also clear that he knows his true home does not lie on this earth. Montana is also where my parents met.
My mom grew up on a farm in Iowa, she's one of five kids. She grew up in the same house that her mom was born and raised in, which I think is really neat because it's not something you hear everyday. Anyway, she was super involved in things like 4-H growing up and spent all her early mornings doing chores on the farm. I'd really like to know more stories about my mom's childhood, because I really only know a few. One of my favorites is of this one time that my mom was working in the corn crib (that's farm talk for a place where you store corn) and all these rats fell down on her head, which is actually quite terrifying if you think about it. Anyway, one time later on in her life my mom was asked about a traumatic experience in her life and that was all she could think of and people were kinda concerned she might need counseling. We still laugh about that sometimes. My mom was also elected this special honor one year, I think it was called Dairy Queen or something like that, not to be mistaken with the restaurant. Anyway, it's sort of like the homecoming queen or rodeo queen, and it was a really big deal where she grew up. I just found out about this a few years ago. I mean, I always thought my mom was pretty and would have been popular in high school, but just the idea that she won such a big award and recognition like that is so awesome. It made me proud of her when I heard the story. My mom went to college in Iowa, also planning to become a teacher. She did a year of her student teaching in Quito, Ecuador, which is just so neat. I wish I knew more stories from that year (if you're reading this mom, you can tell me more stories soon).
So, back to how my parents met, it's really pretty crazy. My dad was dating this girl from Iowa who just happened to be really good friends with my mom. My dad and this girl planned this big skiing trip in Montana and the girl invited my mom to come along. On this ski trip, my parents met and really hit it off. Like I've already said, my dad was a big-time mountain man, really loved the outdoors, and my mom was pretty much the same. But this girl my dad was dating, she was a big-time city girl. So anyway, after this ski trip my dad's girlfriend got together with my mom and told her that she thought my parents should get together since they were both outdoor people and she was a city person. So, that's how my parents met and got together. Pretty terrific really.
After they got married, my mom taught for a while and my dad worked a lot of different jobs, from ranch-hand to logging. I was born just a little before their 2nd anniversary. I remember going to work with my dad sometimes as a kid when he was logging, those were some of my favorite days. I'd get to ride in the Caterpillar with him and listen to guys yell "timber!" all day. I also went to school with my mom sometimes, maybe that's why I've always loved school and want to be a teacher, because I was around it all the time when I was little. When I was 6 and my brother was 3, we moved overseas where my parents both taught at a school for Missionary kids. That's when my dad decided to start going to seminary and become a pastor. My parents lives have always been characterized not by a concern for financial stability, wealth, or material possessions, but by a constant interest and desire to follow the call of God on their lives.
Jordana and I have been talking a lot about my parents lately. My mom is one of the most loving people I know. She is the best example of selfless and sacrificial love I've ever seen. She truly loves without expecting anything in return, it's a blessing and it's convicting. My dad is a man after God's own heart. His drive and motivating passion is truly and undeniably a love of people. He is a leader, a motivator, and the type of man that I would hope to become. Together, my parents make up a couple that was clearly brought together by divine providence and is being powerfully used by the Lord to change the hearts and lives of many people. I love my parents, I am proud of them, and they are an absolute inspiration to my wife and I and to many others. Here's to you mom and dad.