I call my father Daddy … always have, always will. He is one of my favorite people in this world. My Dad was a pastor and is still preaching. He has been preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ since he was 15 years old … that makes 71 years! So, Daddy, this one’s for you … Happy Father’s Day! I love you and thank you for living-out-loud your faith in Jesus all my life. Thank you for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Thank you for showing me how to dream and how to live it out. Thank you for pointing me to Jesus to “this good hour.” Thank you for being a man of integrity in all you say and do. Thank you for being my daddy. You shaped me into the person I’ve become.
We are from Oklahoma – those are our roots. Although I haven’t lived in Oklahoma my entire life I still have a very real sense that I am rooted there. Family bonds are strong and hard to leave behind. I believe at some point in life we all long to know more about those people in the past we call ancestors.
When I was little my grandma had old framed portraits of her parents and my grandpa’s parents hanging prominently on the wall. I was always scared to death of those pictures. They weren’t smiling, which made them seem angry. My cousins and I would take them off the wall if we drew the short stick and had to sleep in that particular bedroom. What were these people like? We can only know from stories passed down. That’s why I love to hear people’s story. These stories help us have an insight into our own lives. Daddy is a great storyteller. His stories are full of phrases he uses in his life that you can only understand when you hear the story behind it. I come from a family of storytellers.
My daddy is Dr. Charles Duane Riley. He went by Duane, his father was Charles. He was born in Clarita, Oklahoma in 1932. He was and is very handsome. He likes a cold coke, he loves to chew up a good toothpick, he always has a tube of classic black chapstick in his pocket, he is funny with an infectious laugh, he startles easily ( as do I), he doesn’t like for people to stand behind him or mess with his hair, he can play the guitar and sing beautifully, he is proud of his Irish heritage, even though my brother shattered his world when he broke the news that he believed we, instead, were Scotch Irish!! We’ll always be plain old Irish to daddy. He is smart, funny and an amazing preacher. He loves his family. Our home was a wonderful place to grow up — a home centered on loving Jesus through his example.
I’ve written before about our family “Be Glad Days.” Regardless, of what we were doing, if we were all together, it was a day to be glad. “Be Glad Days” are a big part of my memory. When I was growing up, whether it was a family trip across the country or a Saturday together, it was a “be glad day.” I think that is a great way to put it because it captures the essence of our hearts desire for our family and our lives. The word says, “This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24). So there you have it … Be glad days!
My Dad introduced me to Jesus. He gave me the legacy of believing someone was always on my side. I knew no matter what happened in my life good or bad, happy or sad, my dad was my ally. He was my safe person. I knew I could tell him anything and he was with me — sympathizing, rejoicing, encouraging, laughing, crying, agonizing, hurting, dreaming, listening, talking, believing the best in me, telling me I could do anything in the world I wanted to do … giving me exactly whatever the situation called for. My Daddy is one of the greatest examples in my life, and his legacy is much of who I am today.
Happy Father’s Day Daddy, I love you.