by unknown authorA Boy's Tribute to His Dad
I've been looking for a card to send you which would in a measure express what is in my heart to say to you. But I have found none to suit. So I'm writing this letter to let you know what you've meant to me through the years.
First of all, I'd like to tell you that your patient love and protection have not all been lost. Doubtless there are many things you've done for me; many thoughts and plans that you've entertained on my behalf, which have never found their way to my inner consciousness at all.
But you will like to know that some of your fatherliness has found me! After long years, I've begun to appreciate it. Time, the great alchemist, turned the common ore to gold. Or perhaps I should say that it always was pure gold, only now my eyes have been anointed and whereas I was blind to your golden qualities, now I am able to see them. Secondly, Dad, I'd like to hold up the ideal, so that it may create a desire in others to become to their children what you have always been to me.
Thirdly, I want intellect and heart to grasp this fact: that the best of earthy fathers is but a faint reflection of what the heavenly Father is. I'm proud to remember that you worked with your hands as well as with your head. Do you remember the day when as a little boy I was playing tug-of-war? It was the little boys against the bigger boys. You watched us pulling; watched the little fellows straining every nerve against their competitors; yet, slowly, surely...losing. Then-I can see you yet-you went stealthily behind the smallest hindermost boy, and boy, how you pulled! Over toppled the big boys, dragged right into the territory of the weaker side. That one action is representative of you. You were always throwing your weight on the other side. It was your delight to secure victory for the feeble, pitted against the strong.
I remember, too, Dad, thinking as a very small kid of the Judgment Day. Oh, I know I've never expressed these inner feelings to you before, but this one thing I must tell you now. I imagined myself standing with the small and great before the Great White Throne, when the Books were opened in heaven. I didn't know then about the Other Book, or, if I did, I didn't understand how my name was going to be written there. And so I planned in my frightened brain that I'd be sure to stand very close to you; that I'd hold your hand so tight, no one could tear me from your side. I imagined that in this way, I, your weak dependent one, might slip through to the joys of heaven. It was a poor tangle of error, of course, but I venture to think it was a stepping-stone to a great truth. I was so sure you'd not wish to be separated from me there. I had learned as a toddling child that fathers know how to love. But I know now that even you couldn't get me a passport into heaven. That is the prerogative of the only begotten Son of God. You couldn't by all right of your strength place your trembling child among the circle of the redeemed; but this I say-you did point the way in. Oh, that every father would do that! If fathers knew how their influence tells and weighs, they would be more particular about many things. I feel so glad and proud, Dad, that you were one of those who felt your responsibility.
Well, Dad, there is much more I could say but I don't want to make you weary. All I can say now in closing is that in your life I find an analogy most precious. As you were close to me as a boy, our heavenly Father is not far from every one of us, His sin-sick children. He does not require us to put our wants in words. He's not hard of hearing. He's very near, all powerful and supremely tender.
Like as a father pitieth, God pities me-so David saith.
I'm groping at it-grasping at it, rather,
Because, you see, God's so-so-loving-if He's like my father!
From A Look at the World Through a Look at the Book (precourser to Pulpit Helps), August 19, 1971, compiled by Austin L. Sorenson.