Thanks, Dad.

Dad,

Happy Father’s Day!

But before you settle in with a good book, let me say a few words of thanks…

Here you are in your dorm room at Seattle Pacific, back in your university days. What a journey it must have been, from a childhood in Mossyrock, Washington to school in the big city. Thanks for being such a great student in school. Your enthusiasm for studying, and your confidence that education would only uphold and affirm your Christian faith, continues to inspire me. Because you love to study, you taught me to love studying. Thank you.

And here you are with the woman you love at her graduation. (Yes, I can see TWO photographs of her on your student desk above.) Your faithfulness, devotion, and adoration of Mom continues to inspire me. Because you continue to love her so completely as the decades pass, you continue to deepen my understanding of the nature of True Love. You chose so wisely that you’ve inspired me to choose wisely as well. If I’m any good at being a husband, it’s because you have taught me so much. Thank you.

Here you are teaching at Portland Christian High School when I was young. I loved to visit you in your classroom and watch you teach. You even let me run the slide projector, and change the transparencies on the overhead projector. You taught me to appreciate good teaching, and to desire to be a teacher. If I am making any kind of difference as a teacher through my writing and speaking, it’s because you set such a fine example. Thank you.

Here you are encouraging me to be creative. The puppet shows got better over time (I hope). But you and Mom always set aside time to appreciate any feeble effort I made at creativity. I’m sure that had a lot to do with the fact that my life is focused on creativity today. Thank you.

Here you are with the larger family… which includes two more excellent fathers (my grandfather Norman Rydman, who went home to be with the Lord when I was in high school, and my uncle Paul Morris, who has raised two beautiful daughters), and two more fantastic mothers (my grandmother Ruth, who follow her husband soon after; and my aunt Ruthie, whose influence, humor, and creativity I see reflected in Amanda and Jenny). Dad, because you are so devoted to serving our family, you have taught me to appreciate that. I’m grateful. Especially today, when I look around and see so few people who value their families like that. Thank you.

(And this picture also reminds me that I’m glad Jason and I eventually started wearing different outfits…)

Here you are with me, Mom, and Jason, on the day of my high school graduation. (Man, I was goofy-looking!) And yet you demonstrated such patience with me, such confidence in me, even though I was probably difficult company during some of those days… I am grateful for all that you have invested in my education, my reading life, and the growth of my faith. Your example in all of these things has made me want to keep them in the center of my life. Thank you.

And here you are at home with Mom, at the fireplace, where I’ve watched you read so many good books before you’ve handed them over to me. And I’m glad you’re still a part of my life. I look forward to many decades more of learning from you, reading books you recommend, and sharing life’s surprises, challenges, and joys.

You and Mom are two of God’s greatest gifts to me. And so I’m thanking you here, so everybody can know a little bit about how much you both mean to me.

(And if you want to hit me in the head with a frying pan for posting these pictures, just send me a note and I’ll take them down.)

Happy Father’s Day!

Your oldest son,

Jeff

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.


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