I love it when you call me Big Papa
They say our perceptions of God are shaped early on in life by the roles our parents play, especially the role of the Father. I’d have to say this is fairly accurate as I’m certain that both Jesus and my dad recognize I’m a basketcase and love me way too much anyways.
My dad and I couldn’t be more different from one another. I think he scratches his head multiple times a week as his wife tells him of the various social media things I write or stories I tell wondering how on earth my crazy, mischievous, passionate self came from his calculated, logical engineer self. Last week he sent me a cheeky e-mail offering me a thesaurus’ full list of vocabulary exchanges to make my writing style a bit less vulgar which I laughed out loud at through crusty eye boogers when I read it in the morning. I had every intention of ignoring it, because I like my writing a lot and apparently you do too, but I found myself actually avoiding a couple of the words he mentioned. Not out of fear, but because some of the other suggestions didn’t suck and its a good challenge to have to be verbally creative. He and Jesus both know that just telling me “NO” will only ensure that I do that very thing, but rather, if you show me a better way of doing something I’ll change and modify quite quickly.
Our differences made for some v fun and loud AF conversations during my teenage years but as I've become an adult I've realized how great my fajah is. While we pretty much only have sarcasm and Harry Potter in common he has always supported and pushed me to be a very good human. He’d volunteer for any coaching opportunity that came his way, he’d sit through all of my dance recitals and show choir competitions and he always believed in me. I was kind of a little shit when I was a child -- but I made up for that by never drinking or smoking in high school -- and instead of just shouting at me my dad would exasperatedly say “Kelsey, I know you. You can do anything if you just apply yourself.” It didn’t matter if my interests weren’t his cup of tea, he just wanted me to try my best.
My dad is smarter than yours, too. I guarantee it. (Also I always spell that word wrong but I nailed it this time without needing to look it up so please start a slow clap for me). Unless your name is Jacob or Emma Lucke in which case they may be tied because your dad is v smart as well. My dad loves to travel - yet another sign of his intelligence, people who are brains like to know about the world they live in - and he’d be so proud to know that I now like things other than just laying by the beach when I go on vacation. I also like to drink. KIDDING DAD. I like to go on tours, too.
He was the first parent to come visit me in Africa and after seeing me interact with my kids he said I’d never be back. My parents got the split down of supporting your kids in their dreams, but not making it an easy road so that they just coast and become entitled little monsters. If it that balance had swung even half a degree in one of those directions I wouldn’t have had the confidence and life skills to move abroad and start Uphold.
Whenever I need help I know I can talk to him. I’ll usually talk to him first if there’s a big decision I’ve made or (more likely) a big mistake I don’t know how to rectify because he’s level headed and non-emotional (opposites, I tell you). He looks at the situation and isn’t phased and just pushes me to move forward.
I’m re-falling in love with my dad as I type this, HA! I would be this huge mixture of passion and free-spirit intentions without his steady presence in my life, forcing me to think logically and also turn dreams into reality.
My dad travels all of the time for work. No one has more frequent flyer miles than him and I don’t know how on Earth he will use them all up. Occasionally I’ll ask him for a cheeky flight to see my Aunt/Uncle for Thanksgiving or something fun, but because of the independent streak he’s instilled in me those are few and far between. If I want something, I’ll work for it -- I’d rather save the favor asking for things that help others anyways.
In the last month there was this one night that I realized that my ex cheating on me wasn’t just a little fluke, but rather something he was traveling hours for and I knew he’d gone four hours out of his way to see his new flavor of the month based on something he was tagged in. It’s dehumanizing to know that this person who a week ago was telling you that there wasn’t a single thing they didn't love about you was now crossing state borders to go screw someone else. I was driving home from a brewery at the time and I ended up driving right past my house in Minneapolis to the dreadful suburb of Bloomington to my parents house because knowing that will make even the most stable and confident people want to kill themselves.
I spent the weekend there and it was that weekend that I decided to go to South Africa. I found the craziest cheap flight from Chicago and figured it would only cost me $100 to get to Chi-town so I went for it. When I eventually told my parents I bought the flight, without skipping a beat my dad chirped “Well, I can get you to Chicago!”
I didn’t have to ask and he didn’t have to offer. I booked this trip because I needed it, but I timed it so that I could pour love onto my best friend. My dad saw that, obviously knew that I was just doing my best to cope with the hand I’d been dealt and bless others along the way and he got involved and I think that’s what God is like.
He wants to see us take steps to do the things we need to do, to put effort into developing ourselves personally and healing emotionally, and if we do that with the intent of helping others at the forefront of what we’re doing, I think He’s like “Kelsey! I can make this a little bit easier for you, if you’ll let me!”
When I was in Istanbul on my layover I got my dad some local pistachio baked goods and smuggled them on the plane because I had memories of watching coming downstairs when I couldn't sleep as a teenager and instead of lecturing me he'd crack open a pint of Ben and Jerry's Pistachio Pistachio and we'd pound it and I'd fall asleep on the couch. We arranged to meet at Vina's in Richfield, our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. When I got there, he asked me all about my trip and my kids and my best friend and Istanbul. He lectured me about staying with a stranger because while he is adventurous he's still a dad.
And I think that's what God is like, too. I think He waits wants to hear us retell the stories of the lives that He's given us to live. I think He likes it when our eyes light up with every "and then...and then...and then..." in-between bites of the flaky egg rolls He ordered for us living in the lives that we've been given.