my father as my guide and navigator

The compass you just clicked on has a lot of meaning for me. It reminds me of the days when I was in the Christian Service Brigade program (quite similiar to the Boy Scouts). Every spring, each Long Island brigade unit would gather for a long, physical weekend of competition and fun with hopes of winning the ultimate prizes: a huge tall trophy and a delicious watermelon.

One of the events we competed in was called "orientation." You were basically given a map, a compass, and specific coordinates. The day before all the field events took place, a specific destination point was chosen somewhere on the campgrounds. The goal of this particular event was to see which brigade unit could get to the closest point. It took hours to work on and even after you said you were done, you really didn't know how well you did until Saturday evening. This was the best part of the weekend. After a long day of competition, all the units sat around a blazing camp fire, sang memorable camp songs, and then await to hear how well they did. Each event was awarded a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. But it wasn't until you found out the overall score which unit had bragging rights on Long Island as the best Battallion finally told how well each unit did within each competiton. And last but not leastand who won the overall competition.

That one event is great metaphor for how my father raised my brothers and I. He was very much a guide, a navigator, for my life. Each day, he was there to lead me. When I was lost, he found me. When I cried as a little boy, he was there to kneel down and wipe my tears. As I got older, when I seemed to move away from my purpose, he brought me back to a place of familiarity, of safety, of grace and forgiveness - a place I knew I could always call home.

The boots you see above go hand-in-hand with the compass. As a little boy, I really admired my dad. I looked up to him and wanted to follow him. And even as I got older and went through several academic programs, I still looked up to my father. I'm reminded of the phrase, "If only I could walk in his shoes." There's something about that phrase that resinates within me. Maybe it was that innate desire to walk in my father's shoes, to be like him as matured each year. As he continually led a life that was consistent and true both in his word and with his actions, I found that I wanted to live a life that was as admirable.

Today, I feel a hole deep within my heart because I literally can't take a walk with my father as I once did. I miss the days when we talked, almost about anything. There is certainly something missed from such an experience. But

The righteous perish and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk upright enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death. - Isaiah 57:1-2