Words of Hope: Hey Dad

When I was younger, I loved to yell, “Hey, Dad, what would you give me if I make this shot?” One of the biggest wagers we made was at Silver Lake. I had turned sixteen, and Mom and Dad were going to get me a car to drive to school. Dad, Shann, and I were in the same teaching group with several other coaches. All of us were shooting during a water break and just having fun. I was shooting free throws and yelled, “Hey, Dad, what will you give me if I make four in a row?” Usually, $20 was on the line, but Dad took the wager more seriously this time. He brought the sixty boys (eleven years of age) around to the key and said, “If you make four in a row, I will buy you a car, but if you miss, you have 6 hours of work that I set out for you.” This was typically unpleasant work like hauling wood, cleaning under the deck, the garage, or up after Challenger, our 140-pound black lab. We shook hands, and I coolly drained 4 free throws. Dad didn’t appear nonplussed. “Double or nothing,” he said. This actually meant 12 hours of work if I missed and a “nice car” if I hit the shots. I wanted to clarify “nice.” Dad said nice meant a car worth over $8k, which was far above our original budget. I agreed. Then Dad got all the boys into the key. They surrounded me on all sides, so I had very limited space to shoot. They yelled wildly and waved their arms. “Hey, Dad,” I yelled over the din, “This isn’t fair.” He said, “You didn’t define your terms.”

I love that memory with my Dad – a grand wager and a feisty competition. I ended up easily draining the last four and winning the car. Dad was as happy as I was. He celebrated along with me. I look back with the deepest gratitude for my Dad because he helped me believe I could do difficult things. He set up challenges but had the deepest faith in my ability to come through. I felt absolutely 100 percent certain I would hit those shots. The hoop felt as wide as the ocean. 

I think this is one of the deepest aspects of grief for me. Losing that daily voice, a father who pushes you to succeed but with such love and resounding confidence. I keep reminding myself this love that I found in Dad as a father, I can trust in my Heavenly Father. He knows the challenges I will face and promises to get me through my obstacles. I need to remember that God is able to do immeasurable more than I can imagine. He gives me the confidence to do all He asks of me through His power and purpose. 

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20