Archives for posts with tag: Dads

blog picMy father will be 89 this year. I have made a commitment to see him every year until the Lord calls him home. The reason for that is rather simple — I feel that only now am I really getting to know my dad.

I knew my dad as a pastor. He always had people surrounding him, hanging on his every word, seeking a blessing or giving praise.

I knew my dad as a student. He was constantly surrounding himself with books, he never failed to have a Bic pen in hand, and he filled hundreds of pages with notes in old fashioned notebooks. My siblings joke about us fighting over who will inherit his notebooks.

I knew my dad as a husband. He was quiet but always supportive of my mom. Publicly, they rarely disagreed. I saw them being playful with each other but also being extremely serious when the subject was helping people in need.

I knew my dad as a sort of super human. I never saw my dad cry. I never heard him raise his voice. He never appeared to be in a hurry and he always had time for everyone. And one more thing: my dad didn’t give any indication that he needed any help from anyone no matter what the task was.

I knew my dad as a great communicator. For a guy with only a 5th grade formal education, he certainly climbed very high on the ladder of academia. Not only was he articulate, his words were persuasive. He was a specialist in drawing deep lessons from every-day stuff. My dad naturally drew crowds without even being aware that he had this power.

But I didn’t know my dad as a playmate in a game of UNO. I don’t remember that we ever played any games together. I guess we were too busy trying to survive.

I didn’t know my dad as a collaborator in a project fixing something around the house. The few times I asked him if I could help, I remember hearing a firm “no.”

I didn’t know my dad as a hugger. It was not until my freshman year in college, after I had been away from home for a while, that I remember getting a hug from my dad, one of those side hugs that those unaccustomed to touch give while praying to God that no one is watching.

I didn’t know my dad as a coach. My mom did all the teaching, admonishing and disciplining in our home. I remember hearing my dad at times say things like, “You should get him/her to do this or that.” My mom may have had that delegated to her, or maybe she just stepped in, knowing my dad wasn’t going to do it. Our family was not unlike many others today where the women take the lead instructing the children in the ways of the Lord and I’m thankful to God that my mom was equal to the task. Without her investment in our lives we wouldn’t be where we are today.

I did get spanked by my dad once. He came after me with a belt and I jumped over a fence, not before he launched the belt toward my stomach, leaving a bloody spot. Then he ran after me in the yard but I was a lot faster than he so I escaped a full punishment. Kind of. Because it rained hard that evening and I was outside for a long time until my mom finally had mercy on me and called me in to shower and have supper. I am sure I deserved the discipline, even if I can’t remember today what the whole ordeal was about.

As I moved away from my home after college, I observed from a distance how my dad was relating to my younger siblings, especially my youngest sister, who was born the year I started college. Slowly, she softened my dad’s heart and my dad became a different person.

And it is this person I am getting to know now in my older years. My dad, the conversationalist; My dad, the encourager; My dad, the man who raises his voice sometimes; My dad, who marches to his own beat; My dad, a dad in the truest sense of the word. And it is that man that is making me undertake a yearly pilgrimage to the equator in Northern Brazil to try to make up for some lost time. No worries, though, we will have plenty of time in heaven, because of all the traits of my dad I didn’t get to know, Dad, the servant of God, imperfect but saved by grace, will never cease to impact me.

“Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.” (Luke 6:40).

Pastor Ivanildo da Costa Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

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My father is a quiet man. If I have heard one complaint about him my whole life, it’s exactly his awkward social skills at home. Growing up I got used to this man who always seemed to be most content alone with his thoughts. As I got older life took me away from home and there was even more geographic distance between us.

Now that he will be 88 this year, at the urging of my wife, I took two weeks vacation to spend time with my dad. I also needed some time away to get some perspective and rest from some of the challenges of life and ministry that had become particularly intense as of late.

And, not surprisingly, I found vintage Pastor Eulálio: quiet, unassuming, averse to multitudes, more at ease with his own thoughts. For a talker like me, this is a good exercise. I am forced to listen intently, as if hanging on the edges of conversion, to mine some nuggets of rare wisdom, which I invariably do with him.

3 IT BLOG 5-22-2015So I “perched” myself in the patio just about every day, after lunch and before the afternoon rains. There, I would read, think, pray, rest, and eventually fall asleep for a brief time, a nap made possible only by the magic of the ear plugs (after this trip I have decided that if I had to chose between ear plugs or headphones, I would always pick the former.)

2 IT BLOG 5-22-2015 At some point, after his nap, my dad would come out to the patio, Bible in hand as always, and he would sit there in his accustomed place, reading the Word with the curiosity of a two year old and the tenacity of a medical scientist who believes he’s about to make a new discovery that will revolutionize the way we live. My dad’s love and intensity for God’s Word has never waned and this is the greatest gift he has given me for which I will be eternally grateful.

By now I would be sitting on my hammock, pretending to read but watching him and marveling at what I was seeing — a man with a fifth grade education, stooped down a book, refueling his reserves to instruct some of the sharpest minds in these parts.

1 IT BLOG 5-22-2015People would usually come in with the standard “Olá, Pastor” greeting, and invade the magic, bringing him back to this world, as it were. On this particular day a member of the church comes by, Bible on hand, and announces, “I want to receive some instruction from Scriptures about dealing with some family members who are spititists” (followers of Allan Kardec).

And that’s when the chatty, social, jovial, playful but serious side of my father comes out. He sits there, listens to the questions carefully, and goes to the Bible, emphasizing every point, reading from both Testaments with the agility of a first class fencer. I pitch in here and there, offering a meager contribution, but then fade into the background, letting him do his thing.

Only God knows whether I might see my father again this side of eternity, but if I do, I’ve already made a decision: I will have my Bible with me every time I have a conversation with him, no matter the topic. I realized, maybe too late, that the Bible for my dad has the same effect that a T.V. set has for a lot of people. Have you ever met people who talk around the T.V. or need it to remain engaged in a conversation? Well, the Bible is it for my dad. My dad is not quiet. He is just quiet if the subject is something other than the Bible. Strange but wonderfully true.

For those who live near him, if you care, you might catch a glimpse of the old man in his accustomed place. If you decide to come in, bring your Bible and be ready with a question. He will be delighted to serve you. But don’t wait too long. The patio may look different if you do.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA