June 20, 2010

On Discovering the Ultimate Father's Day

On Father's Day, I find myself thinking about my father, Jim Wheelis, who passed away in March. I love this picture of my father, taken in front of our rented RV. From my 'tween years until at least college, our family vacationed in San Diego each August to escape the worst of Arizona's heat. For several years, a group of families from our church would caravan with RVs to spend a week or two at De Anza Trailer Harbor in Mission Bay. I'd never do this with my kids now, but our parents would basically turn us loose to play on the little bay beach, ride bikes, play shuffleboard, and just generally have a great time. One day of our trip would be spent at Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, or something like that. And if we were there on a Sunday, the whole crew trekked over to worship at a local church. It wasn't a huge church -- I wonder if it was common for them to have 30 visitors on a summer Sunday!

The last few years that we vacationed in San Diego, we rented a condo down on Imperial Beach -- just our family. It always intrigued me that the homeowner would find another place to live during the summer so that total strangers could invade her space for one to two weeks at a time! Now that I'm older, I realize that she made a tidy little profit for her inconvenience, and I appreciate the homeyness we enjoyed (as well as the great view of the beach).

As a young father, Daddy worked as a farmer from sun up to sun down. By the time we began the San Diego tradition, he had transitioned into insurance, then real estate sales, but still worked very hard. These vacations helped us see a different side of Daddy over a period of days. He knew how to relax and have fun! One reason I love the picture above is the natural smile on Daddy's face, as well as the look of adoration on Mama's.

I miss my dad today. This is the first time since I've left home that I've not called him on Father's Day. As I helped my children get cards for their dad, I was reminded that I didn't need to get a card for Daddy. But I know that he is not even thinking about Father's Day, he's so taken with worshiping the ultimate Father in heaven. And that's the ultimate Father's Day, isn't it.

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