8: One Father’s Sacrifice

8: One Father’s Sacrifice

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad

One Father’s Sacrifice

Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad.

~Author Unknown

If you asked anyone about my relationship with my dad, they would tell you that I am Daddy’s little girl. He rarely said “I love you” or “I’m proud of you,” but I always knew that he believed in me. Even though he wasn’t a very affectionate man, I never questioned his love for me. His primary role was as the provider for our family. It meant Dad worked many hours at a local tire plant and wasn’t home much. That didn’t change how I felt about him. I idolized him, like most girls do when it comes to their fathers. We had a special bond that even my mom didn’t understand, a bond that I cannot describe to this day.

But things in our family would change. In the fall of my senior year in high school, my mom decided to leave our family for a man she had met on the Internet many months before. This turned my world upside down and devastated my dad. I lost my mom that night, and I needed Dad more than ever. Fortunately, our relationship as a family bloomed. We began eating dinner together, going to church together, and spending time together. The special bond between us grew even stronger that year and would continue to do so throughout my four years in college.

When I began choosing a college that January, Dad told me that I could attend any school I wanted. To his surprise, I chose a very expensive private university about an hour and a half from our home. I was awarded enough scholarships to cover half of my tuition and fees, but Dad would still have to pay the rest. When I told him this, all he said was, “Okay.” He had made a promise, and he was going to keep it.

I started school that fall, and I loved it! I excelled in my classes and joined activities that forced me out of my comfort zone. I participated in student government, campus ministries, and other things that not only strengthened my organizational and people skills, but also required me to conquer my fear of public speaking. Through it all, Dad was always there. When I needed money, Dad would send it in an envelope marked “Daddy Moneybags.” It made me laugh every time. He even drove to school to take me shopping for a new homecoming dress.

There were times when Dad’s sacrifices made me feel guilty. But one Sunday, I came to understand why he did the things he did for me. I sat in church that morning listening to the pastor speak about the meaning of a shepherd warrior, when one of the points on the outline grabbed me. It said, “A shepherd loves sacrificially.” The pastor described a sacrifice as “giving up something you love for something you love even more.” At that moment, I finally understood. Dad loved me so much that he was giving me what I wanted no matter what it cost him. He sacrificed so I could attend a school I loved, and he did so without question or complaint. To him, allowing me to go to this school was more than keeping a promise; it was his way of showing his love for me. His love, along with the love of those around me, helped me complete this chapter in my life.

A few short weeks later, Dad watched me accept my two Bachelor’s Degrees, one in Biology and one in Psychology. Like always, he didn’t say much. He just let me relish my accomplishment. With a hug following the ceremony, Dad told me what I needed to know: he was proud of me and would always be regardless of what I did in my life.

I thank God for my dad every day. I thank God for the countless hours Dad and I spent in the car driving to and from school on the weekends and holidays as we talked and listened to our favorite radio program. I thank God for the notes, my favorite fruit, and the chocolate rose Dad hid in my laundry or grocery bags to remind me that he loved me. I thank Him for the hugs I got just before Dad would leave when he took me back to school, and I thank Him for Dad coming to see me for no other reason than because he missed me. I thank Him for the large basket of goodies Dad brought me during finals week because he forgot to purchase a ready-made “survival kit” from the school. He overflowed the basket with chocolate candy bars, crackers, and chips. He even glued fabric to the basket to make it more special!

It is said that your earthly father is a reflection of the Heavenly Father here on earth. He protects you from those who might hurt you. He corrects you when you are wrong. He guides you as you become the person you are supposed to be. He loves you even when it seems that no one else does. I see the Father in my father’s sacrifice. I see God’s love through my dad’s love, and I thank God for blessing me with such a wonderful man — a man I call Dad.

~Abby McNutt

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