Today would have been my Dad’s 86th birthday. He’s been gone since March 2008. A lot has happened in my life since his passing. I’m not sure he’d approve of all that’s occurred in my life but I’d like to believe he’d be pleased with the man I am today. Dad and I shared a love for food and music although our tastes varied throughout the years. I remember while I was working at KETR in Commerce, Texas, he sent me a cassette he’d recorded called “Old and in the Way.” The cassette featured bluegrass selections from a band formed in 1973 that included Peter Rowan, Vassar Clements, Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, and John Kahn. At the time, one of the programs I worked on was “The Bluegrass Special,” hosted by Bill Ogden. The cassette was a kind and thoughtful gesture from my Dad and his way of saying he approved of my desire to work in radio. In our relationship, this was a huge thing.
As young men we are shaped by our relationship with our dads. Truthfully, me and my Dad struggled at times to find any middle ground. Neither of us were easy on the other. Since his passing, I’d like to believe I understand him better now than I did back then. And, I’ve been able, by the grace of God, to focus on those things we shared common passions for, like food and music. Words matter. As do character and integrity. They are just a couple of things I believe we learn from our dads if we are to learn them at all.
My radio career twisted off into the food business. Radio jobs are hard to come by and the food business paid better back then, although it didn’t pay much either. Occasionally, I hanker to get back into radio or perhaps podcasting. If it comes to fruition, maybe it will be something that combines food, faith, and music.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Memphis music, including (obviously) Elvis. I am reminded of another record my Dad gave me when I was a kid–Back in Memphis–that Elvis recorded in 1969. It’s probably still one of my favorite records.
Dad had eclectic taste when it came to music, as does my Mom. Undoubtedly, that’s what inspired my broad palette of musical flavors.
As for food, for as long as I can remember, Dad loved to grill, smoke, and cook food. I don’t know of a weekend that didn’t include him cooking something. Like a lot of us, he loved BBQ, especially smoking meats. He also loved having the guys over for a Friday night fish fry and, of course, adult beverages were always involved.
While my Dad and I had an extremely contentious relationship at times, there are a lots of good memories as well. My mom once asked me if I think we’ll see Dad in Heaven. I told her that I think he and I would both be surprised to see each other there. Neither of us really knew the other to be a strong man of faith during our lifetimes.
Today, as I reflect back on my earthly Dad, I can’t help but think of my Heavenly Father. This is Holy Week after all and a time to consider the love our Heavenly Father showed us through His beloved Son Jesus.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8 (NIV)
How cool is that? God pursued a relationship with us and through His Son paved a way for us to be reconciled in right relationship with Him. He took a relationship that was dead and resurrected it.
I pray that this Holy Week you can claim the promise of forgiveness, grace, and mercy offered to each of us. It’s a precious gift. One we didn’t earn. One we don’t deserve. One that cost God immensely, yet costs us nothing but a willingness to repent and believe.
As I grow older, I miss the opportunity to spend time with my Dad. I hope he’d be happy to see what God has done in my life and what He is continuing to do with each every passing day.
If you haven’t already, give your life to Jesus. He’s worthy and your life is worth it.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, shining His favor on you.
The Devotional Guy™
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I enjoyed your story about your dad. My dad died in 2007, and I still miss him. He was a man of integrity, and I have great respect for him, but we didn’t have a whole lot in common. He was a John Wayne type, and I am a Mister Rogers type. Yes, I was more of a mama’s boy.
You have done so many different things! Radio? Did you use your real name? Rainer Bantau is a cool sounding DJ name!
Thanks, brother. May God Bless your new food service ministry to the homeless.
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A beautiful Easter week post Rainer! It was a privilege to read the memories you shared of your time with your earthly father. Your words are stitched together by a thread of healing only Jesus can give. I love how your reflections of your Dad concluded with thoughts of our heavenly father.
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Thank you, David. Yes, looking back I have had a varied work career doing different things. Yep, I used my real name on air-but usually just went with Rainer and not my full name (if memory serves). I appreciate you and your faithful reading of my blog. Blessings.
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Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Beth. I appreciate your encouraging insights and kind reflections on my post. The healing is definitely something only Jesus could do. Blessings.
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