As I listened to a half-dozen people in church give tributes to their dad, my thoughts drifted, as could be expected, to my Dad, and the things I have learned from him. Dad has always been the man I looked up to, wanted to be like, and turned to for advice. Whether needing help with a home improvement project or needing council about deeper matters, Dad has always been there.
Adventure & Love of the Outdoors
From an early age I learned that Dad loved a good adventure, especially if it meant standing on the top of a mountain somewhere. He always liked the tune “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” because he always wanted “to see what he could see.” You didn’t know what was on the other side of a ridge unless you climbed to the top to see. Dad took a picture of me, as a baby, laying in the middle of his climbing rope. While we haven’t done much rock climbing together, we have summited many peaks and hiked many miles “to see what we could see.” Dad’s love of adventure has taken me to the top of many of the highest peaks in the Northwest and when he and Mom came to visit me in Nepal, while I spent a year there during college, I got to pay him back by taking him trekking amount some of the tallest peaks in the world! Pictured here are Dad and at the top of Thorong La Pass in the Nepali Himalaya, at 17,769 ft.
I leaned persistence from him too. Over and over we would try for a peak, even if we were turned back by bad weather, altitude sickness, or time. Once we spent 18 hours in a cramped tent, camped on Inter Glacier on Mt Rainier playing Tic-Tac-Toe and Hangman on the only piece of paper we had, waiting for the rain to stop. (It never did stop and finally bailed on the second day!)
In all the climbing he took me on as a kid, there was only one time he carried my pack out. I had been at summer camp and sprained my ankle (on the first day). After a week of hobbling along on crutches, because I didn’t want to leave camp early, Dad arrived to pick me up and take me on our next scheduled adventure, to the top of Mt. Adams. He asked me if I still wanted to go and I insisted on going. A sprained ankle wasn’t going to stop me! However by the time we arrived at the false summit, I wasn’t so sure about continuing. While I’m sure he was disappointed, Dad didn’t complain when I asked to turn around due to my ankle pain. When we got to the bottom of our 2 mile glacade off the false summit, Dad offered to carry my pack, an offer I couldn’t refuse at that point.
Hiking, camping and being in nature has always been a way for him to relax and unwind from work. There were a few years that we would spend nearly every summer weekend camping at Mt. Rainer.
As I have gotten older, I realize that he passed down to me his love of adventure and the outdoors. While I don’t get out nearly enough, it is relaxing to me to spend time in nature, and if I can get to the top of a mountain, that is even better!
When it came time to find a career and to to college, Dad looked to his father for inspiration but still charted his own course. My grandfather, Bapa, was a Seventh-day Adventist minister and a medical doctor who dedicated his life to teaching others. He spent his whole career in various roles at Loma Linda University. When my Dad went to college, he too became a minister. He soon realized that he could combine health with his ministry and returned to school to get a doctorate in public health. After finishing that, his career has been spent mixing health, teaching and ministry. Dad’s desire to follow his passion in ministry has taken our family to many corners of the world.
Another love my father has is technology. We have always had some kind of new technological piece in the house, from the Kay-Pro computer when others were using typewriters, to ‘modern’ 8086 PC’s when he sold his Kay-Pro. Dad bought a ‘portable phone’ (a nine-pound bag phone) when cell phones were unheard of, to the plotters he bought to make overhead transparencies with beautiful color!
The summer after graduating from high school, I came home to find my Dad had a book on his desk, The HTML 3.2 Bible, a book nearly 4 inches thick with everything you needed to know about HTML. He got me started that summer and that is a skill I still use to this day!
Dad has always taken his love of health, technology and ministry and woven it together in a way that I have always admired. And as I think about how I work and spend my time, looking to my Dad’s life is a model for me.
Faithfulness to God
The last trait, but probably most important one, is my Dad’s faithfulness to God. Long before I was a part of his life, Dad dedicated his life and talents to God. He looked to the example of his father and set out to use his own unique talents in new ways. I have watched my Dad work in jobs that were extremely difficult at times, yet never complain. He has always put others before himself.
As I have grown older and more independent, I have had times where I needed career, family, or life advice. Dad is always willing to listen carefully, is never judgmental and always reminds me that no matter what choice I make, he is praying for me each day and will continue to do so, no matter what.
In his current job, he is called to spend many days on the road, away from home. While I know he love to teach and and share, I know he misses Mom and being at home. But he never complains, because he knows that God has called him to this job.
Dad’s love for God is evident in the way he lives his life. He is a listener and teacher, an explorer and adventurer, a father and role-model.
But to me, he’s Dad.