Let me tell you about the fastest dude on the planet.
Well, I mean the guy who I thought was the fastest dude when I was 16, and then I’ll tell you about what I thought was going to be one of my biggest disappointments of my life.
This guy who I knew my entire life, would race against me at any time and any place. In my younger years, the races would be so bad that he would toy with me and beat me running backwards. Or worse, he would run just fast enough so that I would only be a step or 2 behind him, allowing me to believe that if I pushed just that little bit more, I would finally beat him.
…Then the day came
The day I finally beat my dad in a foot race, I was 16 and the second I passed the finish line you would think I would be jumping up and down, cheering and going crazy.
After taking a couple of breaths I was sure my dad was going to say something like “I pulled a hammy” or “my back is acting up” or some other excuse just to be funny. No, he just looked at me as proud as ever and said, “Good job son, you beat me fair and square.”
That sentence resonates with me to this day, and it really taught me about his character. You see, all of the things that I thought HE was going to say after I beat him, was actually stuff I would say if the roles were reversed. I look back and think that though, for 16 years, I had this “constant” that if we race he’s going to beat me, it was disrupted. His reaction after the race taught me how to accept defeat, how to be humble, and how to be human.
I remember looking back at how I had mixed feelings that day and being disappointed. I remember thinking he just gave up – even though he has never shown signs of giving up ever, in all my 16 years. Then I thought that maybe… that would be the first of many failures to me as this “superhero dad” who was faster than anybody in the world. It was really weird, but the truth? I beat him at his best, and this wouldn’t be the last time I would feel this way. This “feeling” of being let down by the one man who is not supposed to let you down, made a couple more appearances after that day throughout my teen years and into my young adult life.
Yet through all the adversity that was to come and through all of the “let-downs,” even ones as big as one that could have possibly torn our family apart forever, he continued to prove that in the end you have to fight for all that you love, and as a man you have to continue to strive to seek advice from The Word and our Heavenly Father who will never let us down no matter what.
It isn’t the fact that in my early years my father was this “superdad” that gave me the best example, it was him messing up after being beat that I learned from him the most.
…and I appreciate that more so now than ever.
Thank you Pops for being a great example of how to learn from your mistakes and messiness.
Oh, and Happy Birthday. I love you.