A Father Makes All the Difference

Jen’s Gem: Faith in God makes all the difference.

Whenever the movie “The Natural” comes on TV, my heart beats a little faster and my finger quickly presses the record button on the remote. It ranks as one of my all-time favorite films, not because of Mr. Robert Redford (ok…maybe!), but because the story is so compelling.

I won’t go into all the details but there’s one scene that is particularly meaningful this Father’s Day. Robert Redford’s character, Roy Hobbs, is with his high school sweetheart, Glenn Close, in her apartment. He knows that she is not married and is confused when he sees a baseball glove on the couch. She informs him that it belongs to her son and shares that his father (Redford, albeit unknown to him) lives in New York.

She then says that she thinks it may be a good idea for her son and his father to reconnect given his age to which Redford responds, “Sure. A father makes all the difference.”

 “A father makes all the difference.” 

I’ve written of my dad a b-zillion times in this and my previous blogs. I suspect if you are a long-time subscriber, you likely know him pretty well. A formidable musician, entrepreneur, teacher, and band member are a few titles he held during his ninety-five year lifespan. While each is impressive in their own right, his title of “Dad” is the one that means the most to me.

Today is the second Father’s Day I’m without him. Gone only eighteen months, it seems more like eighteen years. I’ll never understand the concept of time and how tricky it can be. Some days feel like weeks, while others pass by in minutes.

Growing up, my father was not an affectionate person. While he would always return a hug for a hug, he rarely initiated it. This changed as he got older and I have vivid memories of his arms around me as I’d head back to Connecticut after my visits home. This was the same for “I love you.”

Despite not hearing these words often, innately I knew he loved me. During the last years of his life, he’d say it all the time whether we were on the phone, sharing a cup of coffee, or discussing the great unknowns in life. Perhaps he was making up for lost time. Whatever the reason, I’m thankful he upped his game as these memories are seared into my brain forever.

My Dad also loved music (predominantly jazz), westerns, (particularly with John Wayne), baseball (only the Yankees), and despite the bureaucracy of school administrators, teaching. I think he enjoyed seeing his students fall in love with music as much as he. I believe hearing the many accolades after each of their concerts gave him a sense of pride because he knew he played a part in their success.

At my father’s wake, many of his students attested to his prowess in this area and were grateful for his instruction, his passion, and his commitment to excellence. Even though some of his ways of securing this excellence would not be acceptable in today’s educational system, nonetheless, they were able to see that he just wanted them to be the best musician they could be.

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,  encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 )

The same was true for me. “Do your best” were words I often heard whether it was preparing a piece for a piano recital, taking a test, or in my adult years, a work project. Like any child, I wanted to please my father and make him proud of my accomplishments. Perhaps this is why I always pushed myself so hard to excel and continue to do so with my own children.

I believe this is what God, my Father in heaven, wants as well – excellence. He created you and me with various talents, gifts, and traits and He wants us to use them to the best of our ability to bless others. He also gave us a great example to follow in His Son, Jesus. We’ve all heard or possibly even uttered “What would Jesus do” when contemplating a particular situation in our lives. There’s no better example to follow.

I no longer have my Dad to call upon when life throws me a curve ball or sends me blessing beyond compare. I do however have my Father in heaven to fill this role. I’m grateful for this relationship because on days when I desperately need a hug from my father, I can turn to a Scripture or two and receive the comfort I need.

As you celebrate your fathers today, I’d like to encourage you to also celebrate your Father in heaven, recognizing all of the gifts and blessings He’s provided you and your families. He loves you more than you know and is always there for you.

Father makes all the difference.

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Jennifer Covello, Copyright 2023