Steeped in routine, his day begins at 6:00 AM. After his alarm announces it’s time to get up, he
puts on his robe and heads outside. Come rain or shine, he strolls down the driveway to retrieve
his morning paper.
Back inside, he lays his paper on the kitchen table, walks over to the counter to pour a cup of
steaming hot, coffee. No cream. No sugar. Just black. Opening the cabinet, he reaches
for the box of Frosted Flakes, grabs a bowl, a spoon, milk from the fridge, and prepares
himself a breakfast of champions.
Because he’s the first one up, he eats alone, enjoying his solitude with the morning paper and his
bowl of Frosted Flakes.
It’s not long before the whole house realizes he’s up and at ‘em. He has a habit of attacking the
bottom of the cereal bowl with his spoon as he scrapes and slurps, scrapes and slurps. His
annoyed wife always draws attention to it by asking, “Mahlon, do you have to make so much
noise when eating a bowl of cereal? You’re gonna wake everyone in the house.”
After breakfast, he heads to the bathroom to begin his hygiene routine of taking a shower,
shaving, and brushing his teeth. As he dresses for the business of the day, he puts on dress
slacks, a short-sleeve dress shirt, matching socks and shoes, and clip-on tie (yes, you read that right,
but that’s a story for another day).
His morning routine, though, is not yet complete.
Under the carport of the home is a one-room office. Not only is this his work space after being
on the road, calling on customers all day, and a safe place where others drop by often for wise counsel
and advice, but this is also his sanctuary—a sacred place where he meets with the Lord every morning
without fail. So, as he always does, before leaving for work, he sets out to spend some quality time
with the Lord.
This precious man of discipline, devotion, and daring scrapes and slurps, is my daddy—my
spiritual and earthly hero.
I can’t remember a day, except when he was nearing the end of his life, where my daddy missed
his quiet time of reading and studying God’s Word. He also prayed diligently for his family,
friends, and the pressing needs of others. A few months before he died, he was honored by our
church family with a Servant’s Heart Award, because his lifestyle demonstrated his deep love
for Christ and his overflowing love and compassion for people.
I remember a touching moment, a few months before he moved to heaven, when a gentleman dropped
by my parent’s house to see my dad. He shared with me before going inside to visit about how
my dad had let him borrow money some years before, and how he had never paid it back. He heard my
dad was in poor health, and he wanted to come by to ask my dad for forgiveness. I knew my dad didn’t
hold grudges, nor did he give to receive anything in return, but he offered his friend forgiveness just
the same. With tears flowing down his cheeks, my dad's friend who arrived full of remorse, left with
joy in his heart and a clear conscience. This is just one of hundreds of examples I could share of the
powerful impact my dad had on people.
My dad also had the spiritual gift of evangelism. He never met a stranger and always made sure
before they parted ways that they knew about Jesus and God’s love. And, if the door
opened, he would walk right in to share how they could enter into a relationship with God through
Jesus Christ. I witnessed this many times during my life. He was never afraid of what others might say.
When I was in elementary school, I loved going with him to work on occasion during the summer. I
usually tagged along on the days he needed to take inventory of the parts he sold to his automotive
customers. Pulling out and counting nuts, bolts, screws, washers, etc. from the dusty bins was dirty
work, but I loved hanging out with my dad. When we took a break, with our cold, bottled cokes and
packs of salted peanuts from the vending machine, my dad would strike up conversations with the
owners or employees. I was always fascinated at his ability to guide the conversation to talking about
Jesus. I’ve often said he would share Christ with a basketball goal if he thought it would listen.
Easter Sunday 1964 - mom and dad and me (age 2)
It overwhelms me at times as to how God orchestrated the selection of my parents for me
through adoption. God knew this gentle man, who loved Him with a whole heart, was the daddy He
designed to make a deep impression on this little girl’s heart for all eternity.
Oh, and I'd give anything to hear those scrapes and slurps coming from the ole' kitchen, just one more
"A father is neither an anchor to hold us back nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way." (author unknown)