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Monday, June 20, 2016

Father’s Day Tribute

Ed Standifer
with sons Wayne (L) and Bob (R) 1952

Yesterday we attended worship services in Bowling Green, Fl where my father was the Methodist pastor from 1958-1962.  Gretta Jones came by our pew before the service with a Sunday school book in hand.  She said that today’s lesson was on humility, and that it defined humility as “power under control.”  She said that it instantly reminded her of my father, and that the definition fit him perfectly.

I was a teenager when residing in Bowling Green and of course wanted be seen in a snazzy new car.  One day Dad and I were headed to the nearby city of Fort Meade. Dad was driving our 1950 Chevrolet. I was sitting in the front seat by the passenger window (“bench seats” were standard then) with my foot resting upon the front panel of the dashboard.  Suddenly in exasperation I exclaimed that we needed a new car and thrust my foot to the floorboard in anger.  After a brief moment Dad calmly replied “Watch yourself son.”  Here’s the thing– he did not retort in anger or threaten reprimand or whine about how we could not afford a new car.  His tone was exactly the same as he would use to tell an adult friend to “Watch yourself Bill” after Bill similarly blew a gasket over something; that is, when a person’s mental/emotional state becomes more weighty an issue than the subject at hand. In other words, he was modeling for me humility as “power under control” and was strongly suggesting that I do the same.

Behind the sanctuary is a hallway that we use to exit when the worship service is completed.  On the wall are individual photographs of all ministers that have ever been assigned to the church.  On this Father’s Day, I gazed for a time upon my father’s smiling face, kissed the tip of my fingers and touched his cheek.

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