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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

My Father’s Voice

By Brenda Adams
June 17, 2012

While sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of our vacation house this year, I was listening to my aging father, Troy Parkman, recall one of his childhood memories. I was taken by the realization of how my father’s voice has changed over my lifetime. His speech is much slower now — his tone somewhat weakened by the struggles and limitations of an aging body. Yet while the sound of his voice has changed, the message has remained the same.

As far back as I can recall, I remember hearing his voice as he entered our home from a day at work. Without needing to understand his words or the topic of conversation, just hearing his voice brought a sense of completeness to the family — an “all-is-well” feeling of security to the household.

As I grew a little older, his was the voice of instruction. My father was and still is a man of great integrity. He has always been a hardworking man, holding the philosophy that you should give an employer eight hours of work — and then some — for eight hours of pay. Accountability and responsibility are permanently branded into his psyche.

My father not only instructed my brother and me on these subjects, but more importantly, he modeled them before us. Today as he recalls the experiences of his working years, the character traits of honesty, integrity, loyalty, accountability and responsibility are clearly seen.

As the years passed, my father’s voice became one of support and concern for my decisions in life. I know there were many areas of concern and even fear as he and my mother tried to guide my choices.

I was the first child, and I didn’t come with an instruction book. I know I gave him much cause for sleepless nights, as well as an occasional reason to be in his car at 1 a.m., looking for me when I had passed my 11 p.m. curfew. Thankfully those times were very infrequent.

I made plenty of mistakes, and I know that not every decision was one he would have made. But he was there. Even when my decisions didn’t look like they would ever turn out positive, he was there!

Frank and I were married in 1968, and we began our life journey together. Later we were joined by two daughters, Miranda and Rebekah. My dad is truly the world’s best grandpa. There has never been anything too silly for him to do for his grandchildren.

His girls, as he calls them, enlarged his heart and brought him immeasurable joy. Each of them had her very own journey with her Poppa. By his voice and his example, Miranda has become a loyal, honest, loving and responsible adult. And now my daughter is teaching and modeling those same character traits to my grandson, Bennett.

In the four years of my daughter Rebekah’s life, my father’s voice echoed with love. Our Rebekah was born with Down syndrome; she suffered cardiac arrest and was left with severe brain damage, which resulted in the loss of her sight. Her Poppa became a great source of comfort to her.

Rebekah’s days were filled with pain, and she endured much difficulty in following her daily routine. In times when neither my mother nor I could calm her, all it would take was for her Poppa to scoop her up in his arms and sing to her.

My dad, who recently celebrated his 88th birthday, was born again at age 40. Since the day he committed his life to Christ, he has given himself wholeheartedly to God’s work. He has truly valued the principles of God’s Word that have guided his life ever since.

When a man leaves this world, his value is not measured by the amount of money and material assets he leaves behind. The greatest measure is the difference his life has made in the lives of others. My father’s handprints are truly upon my life and the lives of the rest of my family. If we could visit the countless people he impacted on his life’s journey, they too would give evidence of his influence.

I know that the day will come when I will no longer have the privilege of hearing my father’s voice. I will never again hear him tell the stories of growing up with my grandparents. I will never again hear him recount his heroic experiences in World War II. I will never again hear him pray over our meals with a simple, “Lord, bless us some supper.”

The voice that has loved me, instructed me, prayed for me, disciplined me and always been there for me will be silenced to my ears, but will be cherished in my heart until we speak again face to face in our heavenly home.

My father will leave a great heritage. My daughter once gave her dad a Father’s Day card that says it all: “All of the good things I have become in my life started with you.”

Thank you, Dad.

BRENDA ADAMS lives in Fredericksburg, Va.

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