I realized after writing my post earlier this morning that I almost missed a very important holiday- Father’s Day.
People often say that I look like my dad and I hope that in some ways I act like him too.
Elaina and I joined him and my Mom for a walk at Queen Elizabeth park a couple of days ago. Every few steps we took someone would call out, “hey Michael!” He works part time as a cook for a modular low income housing building in his neighborhood. From the warm greetings of the residents, I could tell that these guys appreciate the chef as much as the food.
While he can be intimidating with his six feet of height, loud voice and louder Facebook posts 😉, Michael Conchie has an even more powerful servant heart, an amazing story telling ability, a good sense of humour, a beautiful laugh and an incredible hospitality that draws people near.
As a child, I used to love listening to Dad talk on the phone speaking words of encouragement and life. Now I enjoy listening to him tell me stories on the phone or when he comes over to do woodwork and help with my garden. At critical decisions and crisis in my life his encouragement and affirmation has bolstered me to have courage and move forward. I know that he will always celebrate my baking, gardening, writing and singing no matter how imperfect it may be. When we disagree or wound each other with our brokenness, I always know that despite the situation, he is for me and not against me.
My dad is no stranger to hard times. I have been witness to various struggles all my life. I have seen him angry and scared as well as joyful. I have seen him work all day and all night some days; while other times I remember him sitting with sadness and frustration not knowing what his next job would be. I have seen the entrepreneurial inspiration of new business ventures that succeeded with a lot of hard work, faith and community and family support. How many lessons have I learned through that? More than I can count.
Learning also comes as I see Dad work through conflicts within himself and with others. I see that life can be messy and painful, not a neat package. I also seem him not give up on himself or others in the midst of struggle.
I see his tenderness not only towards people, but also plants and pieces of wood that need a caring touch.
I have a fig tree on my balcony that he drove over and carried up two flights of stairs not only because I wanted one, but because he couldn’t stand the thought of it being homeless. I have a pile of previously discarded wood under my porch just waiting to be redeemed and fashioned into a beautiful furniture piece.
Out of all of Dad’s qualities, I know that he is a good father who cares deeply for his children. Since 2004 I have marked June 6 as a day of experiencing the horrific crime of rape. To balance the hard memories, I also remember a beautiful princess party that happened on the same day and my high school prom to years earlier. I have written several posts about this day but this year I planned to let it go and not dwell on it. There are many other important dates in my life now. Time to move on. That evening, this bouquet and note arrived on my porch.
He remembered and comforted me when I couldn’t anymore. I still remember him crying and holding my hand on that day when I lay in the hospital and was too much in shock to shed tears for myself.
I love you Dad. I admire your courage, perseverance, creativity, personality and faith that has lead you on countless adventures with many more to come.