He opens his eyes. Sees my father-look-alike-brother. “Are you Doctor Nebblett’s boy?”, he asks in a faint voice. My brother nods and smiles. I kneel by the bedside and he looks into my face. “Are you his too?”. “Yes”, I answer.
“Good”, he sighs. “Everything will be all right now.”
And I realize again, how big are the shoes I have to fill as my daddy’s representative.
The summer deepens. I’m at another bedside. On a home visit with my daddy. He has just broken the news that she doesn’t have long to live. She looks up at him. So trusting. “I’ll do whatever you say, Doctor”. I hold her hand, and together we gaze out of the open door at the bluest of blue skies as he discusses her medications with her children.
How privileged I have been to be with him in those moments. How blessed to watch the compassion of my Jesus flowing out of him. I’m inspired.
I think of the days when he kindly read to me “Fuzzy Wuzzy the Caterpillar”- by far my favorite literary work as a two year old. I must have asked for it hundreds of times.
My 7th birthday marked a turning point for him. He made a commitment to our family that meant sacrifice to many aspects of his successful career. But he stuck with his decision to place us first.
There were the endless questions through the growing up years. From “What vitamins do bananas have in them?” to “What happened when Titus led his army to destroy Jerusalem?” to “Why do guys act that way?” and beyond... He always made time to answer.
And now, he has reached his 60th birthday. How grateful I am to have grown up under the shadow and protection of a man of God. How excited I am to see him reaching for new horizons, instead of simply settling back to “enjoy the fruit of his labors”.
The greatest gift he has given to my siblings and me is the way he has modeled the love of God in his daily life. We have known long before we could reason that we could trust God. That we could depend on Him. That He loved us. Because we experienced all that in our daddy.
Happy Birthday Father! We love you!