A Good Man is a Great Man: A Father’s Day Tribute

It’s been eight months since my father’s passing. My family in quiet mourning. My heart silently grieving; particularly as Father’s Day approaches. Even though I know he is at peace, immersed in Love, my selfish heart finds little consolation in this ultimate truth of existence. I miss him and I want my father with me in this world.

My father was not a famous man. Those who met him, remember him to be a good man, but not me. I consider him to be a great man, the greatest man I’ve ever known.

His life will probably never be written about in any history books, nor will any buildings be named after him. Instead, the world attaches the word “great” to men like Alexander, Frederick, Herod, Cyrus, and Akbar. Not an obscure 20th century middle-class American who spent his professional life frying chicken. Providing food for other people is never a quality the world associates with greatness even if it’s what sustains all of us, including the great.

The use of the word great is a perfect example of two sets of values or ways of living. One is about notoriety, fame and importance. The other about duty, responsibility and selflessness.

The world may never associate the word great with my father, but my love and respect for him knows no other word in which to describe him. Good is great because God is great, and God is good. God is also Love.

Good men and women know when the world calls you “great” it’s fleeting. A worldly label you should never value, anchor your ego too or believe is your purpose. Death the eventual equalizer, even for the great.

Nothing will stand the testing of time including the legacies of “great” people. Love is the only legacy we create in this life that remains as we exit stage left or right. The inevitable and final curtain call of every earthly story.

It’s not life’s stuff I remember about my father, even if he was a wonderful provider. It’s the love I experienced. A love that my whole being knew to be true. My father’s love radiating when he shared the story of our first night together as a new family.

Me finally falling asleep, as my father held me in his arms. Their first child and their newly adopted son. Predictable tears cascading down his cheeks each time he shared this memory with family and friends. Foreseen tears cascading from my eyes as I write and share this story telling memory.

Both my parents giving all three of their children, the gift of an idyllic childhood. My father and I creating Pinewood Derby cars together when I was in Boy Scouts. Taking trips in the family truckster (aka our Plymouth Volare station wagon) to the West Coast. Rivaling any Griswold family experience.

Spending Independence Day in Parkville, Missouri. Sulfur suffragettes from the Land of Lincoln. Thrilled to show this state our explosive enthusiasm. Igniting bottle rockets, firecrackers, Roman candles and other explosives that excite men and boys of all ages.

A few comforting words when He knew I was gay. Words I needed to hear. Words I know he wanted me to believe. His unconditional love for his eldest son never in question.

He welcomed everyone he met. There was never any judgement of other people. No one was ever an “outsider”. He was a humble, honest and humane human.

His legacy and greatness, lies in the love he created; not in the stuff he left behind. Love that still teaches me what it means to be a good man and a greater human. Happy Father’s Day Dad. I miss you and I love you.