My Dad’s Friendships

By AbbyA

Most of you know about my daddy.  There are parts of my journey of being his daughter that didn’t really begin until I said goodbye to him on a cold, December morning.  His blue eyes that I stared into before he set out to heaven have become a sort of roadway into the man that I didn’t get to know every detail of while he lived here on planet earth.  Not to say that I didn’t know the depth of his love or how much he adored me.  It is the missing details.  But with God, all things are possible – – even finding the depths of a heart and soul after his time share on earth shifted to heaven.

After a long day at the football field, my loving husband drove the four of us to the beach.  A local dojo honored my dad and a few other fallen warriors at its annual seminar.  I had three people in mind to see.  Two were there.  A few more were unexpected.

Donna J. grabbed me and hugged me in her strong arms – – just after she had finished teaching her portion of the seminar.  She told me things like it had been too long, about her summer Alaskan trip.  She loved on my kids who were about the same age as me and my brother when she first met us.  She talked about my daddy.  About his faith and his perseverance in the last few months of his life.  This is what I hoped for.  I didn’t want these relationships to pass away with my dad.

I unexpectedly sat next to a gent who went to high school with my dad and trained in the same Miami dojo.  He told me my dad was “bad” in those days.  In the best kind of way.  🙂  I talked to another high school buddy who I hugged as he shed tears over my dad.  We exchanged contact info.  This is what I came here for.

In the blur of my dad’s funeral, I have in my heart many, many words of those who loved him, but fewer faces and names.  Fast forward a year and a half.  Ray P.  It was his dojo, his seminar.  His words.  His warm face that closed the seminar in a tradition of my father that I was not aware of.  He stood at the front of his dojo and asked each karateka to lower to bended knee and he prayed out loud over the day, over the people there and over the teachings of the day.   In the name of Jesus Christ.

You see, my dad found himself in front of seas of martial artists over the years.  Speaking and teaching.  Teaching and speaking.  People from all backgrounds with a common love for martial arts.  This I knew.  I also knew like the back of my hand his commitment to Jesus Christ.  I did not see in action nor fully know how he brought his faith into the limelight of his profession.  Thanks, Ray P.

When we had a chance to say hello, Ray P. told me that my dad opened and closed every seminar and symposium in prayer.  In the name of Jesus Christ.  I saw that God pressed on Ray P.’s heart to be bold with his faith.  He said that not every person would agree, but everyone respected my dad for his convictions.  I sense that Ray P. is expanding his faith with a gentle spirit and a love for Jesus.  His faith calls for that same respect within his reachable audience.

Thank you, God.  For my dad’s friendships.  Thank you God for building more of my dad in me through these friendships.  Through Ray P. and Donna J. and others, what is unknown is made near and known.  What God makes complete, Friends embellish.  There is no end to the unexpected ways that God decorates your soul.  Friends.  Friendship.  Thank you, God.

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