When I was growing up, my dad, Arthur Barry Noonan, had a
tendency to perplex me.
In fourth grade I was struggling with long division. He
decided to tutor me — at 5 a.m. every weekday.
The day I got my driver’s license he said I could drive his
hail-dinged 1976 Datsun B210. With no auto-body repair experience, I decided to
spruce the car up by applying generous amounts of cream-colored auto-body
filler to the car’s exterior. Within hours, the B210 looked like a clay teapot
on wheels. My friends named the car the Bondo Buggy.
When my dad saw it, he just shook his head in disbelief and
said, “Wow!” as in, What did you just do to the car?
In college, I dropped out during my sophomore year and moved
to Hawaii for a change of scenery. My dad wrote letters regularly to encourage
me and tell me he was praying for me.
Throughout my growing up years I made some poor choices,
brought home a few mediocre report cards and participated in a handful of
foolhardy moments that would have driven any father nuts.
But it was in my failings that my dad — a
well-educated follower of Christ with a doctorate from Oregon State University
and a math book to his name — perplexed me the most.
“I’m proud of you,” he’d often say before quoting Jeremiah
Those words are why I strive now to be a good father. But
more importantly, they’re one reason I follow Jesus.
Thanks for perplexing me, Dad.
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