A Tribute to my Dad, on the Occasion of his 90th Birthday
I was probably five or six years old when I began the practice of what became my first regularly-repeated prayer. I would often be awakened by the sound of my Dad firing up his company (City of Roanoke) car, before it was light, to head off to another day of work, and each time I heard him leaving, I would pray, “Lord, please watch over my Daddy, and bring him back safe to me, because I need my Daddy so very much.” I prayed that prayer many times over the ensuing years, and while I can’t fully explain it, I think I must have instinctually understood the important role my Dad would play in my life.
And today, as my Dad turns 90 years of age, God has continued to answer that prayer for over 55 years. I guess He knew that I needed Dad…and I guess I still do. Because my Dad, my hero, is the greatest man I have ever known.
I wonder how many people can honestly say that of their fathers? Sure, I guess I am a little prejudiced, but I say it very sincerely. High on the list of the abundant blessings I have received from the hand of God, I am one incredibly blessed and fortunate man to have Larry “Glen” Harvey as my father. Further, I have just come back home from spending over a week helping transition my Mom and Dad into assisted living, and I got the chance to spend a lot of time with my Dad; as I think about it, I’m sure that this past week, I saw my Dad on more consecutive days than I had since the last summer I lived at home…and what a pleasure it was to serve him, and to be reminded once again of how blessed I truly am.
I wrote a tribute to him ten years ago today, and I would direct you to that piece; please read that here. In that, I gave a number of reasons why I considered myself so richly blessed to be the son of Glen Harvey, but this past week, I’ve come to see what it looks like to take the changes that life brings with grace, good cheer, and a firm reliance upon a good God; Dad is modeling for me how to age as a Christian man. Let me give you a couple brief insights (but do promise me you’ll read the piece I wrote ten years ago!).
Dad is demonstrating his trust in God by his gracious understanding and acceptance of the realities of his situation. As my sister and I have explained to him that he and Mom can no longer live alone, for their safety and wellbeing, Dad has understood, agreed, and deferred to our decisions. I was taking him to a doctor’s appointment this past week, and he said to me, “son, I can still drive pretty well (and he can!), but I often can’t find where I want to go”. To this, I responded, “Dad, it’s time to talk about this; Connie and I believe it’s time for you to give up driving”, and as I said it, I braced for pushback. His answer? “OK!”
I told him he was making all of this too easy on us!
Dad is demonstrating a sweetness that comes from a life well-lived under the lordship of Jesus. I can’t imagine a sweeter, kinder man than Glen Harvey, and this is what I hear over and over again from the people who have known him. This week, he has been so gracious, so thankful; with his failing short-term memory, he said to me, “son, I know I’ve probably said this a couple times, but I am so very, very grateful that you and Connie are taking care of all these things”, to which I will reply, “well, Dad, you’ve said it about thirty times” (true!), and he’ll just smile, and then he’ll say, “I know that you and your sister will only do what is best for us”. He has made our difficult tasks so much easier by virtue of his sweetness and grace, and in so doing, he has given testimony to the way Jesus molds and shapes lives.
I could say a lot more, I’m sure, but I’ll leave off here…at least for another ten years, when I write another tribute to the greatest man I have ever known, on his 100th birthday!