This is the last in a series to honor men who have been helpful by their examples.
Paul Harland Knight is the sixth grandchild of Harland Paul Knight. We’re not very creative with names in our family, but we know why our children carry the names they do!
There is a part of me that wants to be reckless and effusive with my praise for my dad, because I think it is warranted.
But I know there are people who have never experienced this kind of fatherly support, and this is a painful reminder of what you long to have. If you are in that group, remember that God is always a good father, infinitely capable beyond the capacities of any earthly father, even a good one like I have.
And pray that God would raise up a man like this man in your life:
- He loves God’s word. My dad didn’t have the chance to go to college, but several little churches around Winona have asked him to fill their pulpits for vacations and the like because he has the reputation of loving God’s word and handling it carefully.
- He prays, earnestly.
- He has been married to the same woman for more than six decades, and he clearly delights in the wife of his youth (they met when he was three years old!).
- Though he has taken on fewer things as he entered his 80s, he still volunteers at church and in the community. ‘Retirement’ only meant more time to pour himself into others more freely! He likes walking on the beach, but his passion isn’t seashells! (If that reference doesn’t make sense, see page 46 of this book.)
- He loves his children (and their spouses) and grandchildren (and their spouses) and great-grandchildren. He hurts the most when they hurt. He delights the most when they are around.
- He is generous.
- He is unafraid of hard things.
- He doesn’t quit on those he loves.
- He is the same at home, in his work, at church or out in the community; no hypocrisy in our household.
I’ve always respected my father – it is hard not to, especially when everyone in our little town seemed to know him, like him and respect him.
But the arrival of my Paul put everything into a different kind of clarity for me on who this man is.
Only days after Paul was born, while he was still hooked up to machines, dad held him and simply said to him, “if the only reason I was put on this earth was to be your grandpa, that’s good enough for me.”
Tears still come to my eyes, nearly 16 years later, at the memory. My father was for me. My father was for my boy. Nothing could change that. Nothing could stop that. He didn’t require Paul to love him back. He has NEVER required Paul to love him back. He didn’t require me to do anything for him. Paul simply was his own, and that’s all dad needed to know.
This is love. This is God’s gift in fulfilling the commandment: By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers (1 John 3:16).
And that is what I mean when I title this blog, ‘he taught me everything else.’
Thanks, dad. Happy Father’s Day!