Today would have been my father’s 87th birthday, I guess it still is. My father was born in 1932 in a small Central Oklahoma town, with a Native American lineage as was common in the area. As a teenager, he was stricken with polio and spent much of his youth in hospital beds. Yet while most of his “roommates” never left those hospital beds, my father was destined for more. In addition, while most would never walk again, he persevered. With a leg brace, he walked well into his 50s. The effects of polio took its toll and we gave him back to the Lord the age of 61.
He was a brilliant thinker, so much so, that you were careful about asking homework questions for fear of receiving a college level response. He was highly educated, receiving his PhD from Texas A&M in 1972. He worked in the space program, preparing astronauts for future missions. He raised four children, whom each in turn, found success in their own particular fields: computer science, education, construction, and theater. My mother quipped that we became “butcher, baker, candlestick maker”, a full spectrum of talents.
As his birthday approached, I was reminded that I see more of him in the mirror every day. It has been said that I resemble him, and my wife points out that the similarities are more than just the physical. My furrowed brow is a direct inheritance from his pondering the mysteries of creation. As a scientist, he spent his hours finding out “how” God made things, but never “if” God made things. To him, there was no doubt of the fingerprints of God.
Since we are similar, he too, must have had doubts, both of spirit and of purpose, but I never saw it. I believe that without questions, there would be no need for faith. I think he would agree. That’s the man I see in the mirror, but is there more?
I’d like to say that I see glimpses of Christ when I peer bleary eyed into the morning mirror, but probably more of John the Baptist, a bit wild and unworthy to untie the sandals of Jesus, or of Peter, wanting to be the rock, but denying Jesus when it counted.
I recall the story of Peter, warming himself in the courtyard, the night that Jesus was arrested.
“And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilean, and thy speech agreeth thereto.” Mark 14:70 – KJV
His accent gave him away. Does my speech or do my actions show me to be a follower of Jesus? Do I reflect Christ in-between the lines etched in my forehead that resemble those of my father? I saw Christ in him so I guess there is still hope for me. I pray that I pass the same faith and sense of awe-inspiring wonder to my child and to whomever the Lord sends into my path.
So who do you see in the mirror?
I pray that my mirror shows a reflection of my earthly father as well as my Heavenly Father.
And that we may be
Blessed in Great Measure