A Word from Pastor Jim…

My grandfather was a sharecropper; working a farm that belonged to someone else. My father was a child of the great depression. By age 10 he was working in the farm fields. He was a water boy, delivering buckets of fresh water to those who toiled under the summer sun. Decades later, I would be out about town with him, and the old timers still called him “boy.”

He would enlist and serve in the United States Navy. He would spend the last of his teen years in harm’s way, in the Pacific theatre of World War II. After the war, he had no desire to return to the farm, there to labor under the iron fist of his father. He enrolled in barber school in Chicago, though I am not sure that he ever cut hair for a living.

His work career would revolve around paint. He worked for my uncle, painting the barns and homes that dot the flat farmland of Northern Illinois; he worked in the Seymour of Sycamore spray paint factory. Ed Seymour was the inventor of aerosol spray paint. He moved from blue collar assembly line work to white collar plant management when I was in Middle School. He would end his career in marketing.

After a battle with alcoholism and inpatient treatment, his life settled down. Simple pleasures were the best. On my parents 45th wedding anniversary their three children presented them with a most unusual gift, the baptismal bowl in the soon to be completed sanctuary at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland. Five months later he would be dead, a victim of pancreatic cancer at the age of 69.

He shows up every once in a while, in a dream. I always give thanks and take the visitation as a gift from God. He was my golf buddy, he taught me how to chew with my mouth closed, to put the toilet seat back down for my mother and my sister, to throw a baseball, and to honor the old folks by visiting them and listening to their stories.

Tomorrow we will celebrate fathers. Their stories are human stories. They were lovable perhaps, flawed for sure, protectors maybe, providers hopefully. They were products of their raising. They did not arrive fully formed; they too were raised by parents who were flawed and imperfect. They did the best that they could, and their lives are worth celebrating. May God bless all fathers and all families. May we take the lessons that we were taught and evolve into better human beings.

One day closer,

Pastor Jim Lindus
father of three