For the first time in a number of years I get to spend Father’s Day with my father, Ken Leistler. Now I know practically everyone else feels they might have a monopoly on “the best dad,” but I want to cast a vote for my father as an admirable and good man.
I mentioned to him that I was going to write a blog post about him, and he said with characteristic modesty and charm, "Now don't go on and on like you usually do." 'Nuff said. I will be brief!
I have extolled his salt-of-the-earth and straightforward virtues before, but I want to highlight just a few qualities I most admire about him in an otherwise short-but-sweet blog post.
Diogenes, the ancient Greek philosopher, spent a lifetime in search of honesty and concluded that an honest man could not be found. Of all my father’s traits, I may be most in awe of his honesty and integrity. My father has said that “honesty is not the best policy—it is the only policy.” There are countless paintings of Diogenes with his lantern searching for that elusive honest man. Here he is, buddy.
The other night my dad and I were out to dinner with two of my cousins and their wives. As we talked about various things over the course of the evening, one cousin’s wife leaned in to me and remarked quietly, “You know Kathi and I have talked from time to time about how your father loved your mother. We could only wish to be loved in the same way,” she marveled. I know that those cousins are indeed loving husbands, but I treasured how their wives looked at my father and his capacity to love in a very special way.
Look up at the photo from around 1971—I am now 10 years older than my father was in that photo, but I don’t know if I could ever master many of the things he has in his lifetime.
Finally, if you were to look through my Bible, there is an old bulletin saved from a church service in New York from about a decade ago. The sermon title from that day reads “The Grip Of A Loving God,” and I saved it in large part because the sermon title reminded me of my father and his relationship with those for whom he has cared and protected. There has always been a strength about him, and always a tenderness in his love for his family. I have been in the grip of this loving man's arms for fifty years.Brevity--nice to meet you! Happy Father's Day...