dad jokes and Jesus
Where does a bumble bee go to the restroom?
…wait for it…
The BP Station!
Ha! If you’ve met my dad, Doug, you know he is the KING of dad jokes, and that joke happens to be his favorite. He has about a million and one more up his sleeve, and I bet he will tell you a few if you ask. He is one of the most hard working, fun-loving and generous men around. He also has the best laugh. It sounds like an ascending, happy cackle. It starts low, then the more he laughs, the louder and happier it sounds until it turns into a full on belly laugh. It’s the best.
The Bible talks a lot about God as our heavenly father, and about how much he loves us. I’ve gotten a taste of that love through the laughs, kindness and generosity from my old man.
My dad has traveled throughout the country for his entire career. That’s 30+ years of hitting the road during the week, and sometimes on the weekends as well. He is the epitome of a road warrior. I didn’t always understand why he traveled so often, or why he missed out on certain events when I was younger. Now, I understand it was out of love. He’s always wanted to provide for our family, and worked hard to make sure we were financially taken care of.
After graduating from Clemson, I moved to Atlanta to start my first big girl job in the city. Lucky for me, my dad’s sales territory included Atlanta, which meant I could see him when he came into town for business. Also, lucky for me, he traveled to Atlanta often.
One Saturday morning, I drove my 2 door Honda Accord (the blue bubble), into a shop to get inspected. The car had been making strange noises, so I impatiently waited while the mechanic ran tests. I silently prayed nothing serious was wrong because who has time for car trouble, right?
The mechanic finished testing, and informed me multiple pieces needed to be fixed or replaced. The parts and labor needed to repair the car would cost me an amount of money I definitely could not afford. I’ll level with you - an unexpected bill of that amount was crushing at the time; it made my stomach drop just thinking about it.
I mentally ran through the list of other things I could buy with that amount of money instead of fixing the car – new outfits, dinners at fancy restaurants, enough Dairy Queen Blizzards for a year, a vacation somewhere cool – anything but this stupid repair! I remember thinking, how bad is the damage really? Can it run a little longer? It can’t be that bad.
Then, I did what most 22 year old girls do in a car shop.
I called my dad.
My dad was flying into Atlanta the following week, and told me to wait for him to arrive before I moved forward with any repairs. When he landed, we drove directly to the shop so he could speak with the mechanic. You know, so they could talk about man-to-man car stuff I pretended to know about. An alternator? Is that a band?
Turns out, all of the work on the car definitely needed to be done. I kissed my dreams of vacations and Blizzards goodbye as the mechanic started his labor on my 2 Door money eater. When the mechanic finished, it was time to pay the bill. My dad stepped in and said “he wanted the Southwest points” and paid the full amount. He said I could pay him back later, which I was determined to do. For whatever reason, I’ve always wanted to make my parents proud. Whether it was sports, grades, or paying my own bills; I wanted them to see I could take care of myself and succeed.
Later that evening, we drove to dinner in my repaired blue bubble. I vaguely remember him making fun of me for not knowing what an alternator was in between telling his dad jokes. He always has a way of making me laugh even when I want to cry.
We finished our meal, and drove back to my apartment to spend more time together before he needed to leave town again. I immediately wrote a check to pay him back for the car bill, placed it in a blank envelope and handed it to him. He half-heartedly took the envelope and placed it on our small, wooden coffee table in front of him.
I don’t remember exactly how the next part played out, but I think I left the room at some point during our time together to go to the bathroom or change clothes while my dad was sitting on the couch in the living room. When he needed to leave, I walked him to the front door to say goodbye, gave him a hug and shut the door.
As I walked back into the apartment, I noticed the envelope I had given him still sitting on the coffee table. However, it wasn’t blank on the front anymore; it had Mandy written on it. I opened the envelope and found the check I had written for the car bill ripped up into tiny shreds. The inside flap of the envelope said, Love you Sweetie.
What I love so much about my dad, and about God, is good fathers take care of their children. My dad didn’t rip up my check for show, he ripped it up because he is generous, loving and kind. He wanted to take care of what I owed. Jesus did the same thing for us on the cross. He ripped up our sin debt into tiny pieces, and wrote I love you over our lives. That’s the heart of our heavenly father; he undeservingly gives, and I’m humbled to have experienced that kind of love firsthand.
Happy Father’s Day!