When I stopped to listen this is what I learned

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By Susan Sharp

As I sat in church Sunday, I listened while Dr. Kenneth Faught gave a sermon on a forgiving Father. This was an even more appropriate message since it was Father’s Day.

I will admit, and I hope Dr. Faught will forgive this, my mind began to wander.

My thoughts went to my own father- who died just over four years ago.

Not a week goes by that someone I am talking to doesn’t mention what a good man he was.

For those of you who don’t know—I am Glenn Morton’s oldest daughter.

When people talk about him, they mention his kindness, his fairness, his strength and sometimes his humor.

These were all qualities that I was lucky enough to witness first hand. That is not to say dad’s relationship and mine was ideal. In fact, my mother would be the first to tell you we had many years where our similarities were so strong they became differences.

On more than one occasion, she was forced to run interference on our weekly match up of wits.

It became a learning experience for all us- my sister included who watched my mistakes from the sidelines vowing to make her own not repeat mine.

But in time I began to understand the words often attributed to Mark Twain that said at one point in his life he was stunned at how much his father didn’t know. But as time passed and he returned home at 21, he was amazed at how much his father had learned.

That was truly the case with us.

Shortly after I graduated from college, dad and I forged a friendship.

Those many years of advice finally made their way through my thick head.

I realized when he admonished my sister and me for fighting it wasn’t because the shrill shriek of two teenage girls was deafening- it was because he knew that as time passed we would need each other- “cradle to grave” he would say reminding us of how important we were to each other.

I realized each time I changed my major in college and came home excited to tell him of my latest purpose in life, dad wasn’t worried about the extra tuition money that could cost. He simply wanted to make a decision and stick with it.

I realized that no matter how many times you say you are sorry nothing takes away the sting of a harsh word.

I realized that your word means more than anything else you can give someone.

I realized that there is more to getting an education than just showing up at a class and taking a test. It is what you incorporate from that time in college that shapes who you are and that becomes your education.

I realized that being able to laugh when there is not one thing in this world that you find funny is good for you.

And I realized what a gift God had given me when he made me Glenn Morton’s daughter.

In the time since dad died, I have had many days when something has happened and my first thought was to tell him about it. And while I can’t burst through the door anymore with news of my latest intention, I know dad is still acutely aware of it.

Because I also realized that when good men leave this world they go to a higher place- a place where they are rewarded for the good deeds they did on Earth- good deeds that included not strangling a big haired know it all daughter. But instead giving her enough room to stand on her own and even fall down sometimes, so she could also realize how to stand up again.