Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Phil R.

Robert Philip Enoch Church. My father. Known far and wide (at least in Canyon County, Idaho) as Phil R.

Dad was a farmer. Period. Every waking hour was devoted to his farm. Oh, he did do other things, but usually it involved farming in some way or another. He went to bed early every night, up early every morning. It wasn't like he had to make himself do so, it was his life. And he excelled at it. He truly was a "farmers farmer". Sundays, birthdays, holidays; ask him about them and they were "just another day".

My two older brothers and I grew up on Dad's farm. He was our step-dad but the only dad we ever knew. Dad was from Old Missouri blood; that meant he was most definitely the boss and kind words were not part of the picture. He expected the best from us and when we gave that nothing needed saying. If we fell short he would let you know and how to correct it, sometimes harshly but once said that was enough! His way of teaching made you want to do your best, not just for him but also for your own pride.

So Rick, Scott and I were among the best. I say this with some pride but not to puff myself up but to honor my Father and his ways. It was common to hear people say if you wanted to know how to do it right, ask Phil R. He simply was that good, but usually if anyone devotes the time and effort he did, they would be, too.

Dad was very helpful to others, but wasn't very good at taking praise. One of our favorite stories; a new Simplot Soilbuilders field agent moved in next to one of Dad's places, and had a small pasture on his place which was overgrown. Dad was going by with a rotary mower on one of his tractors, pulled in and mowed that pasture down. The agents wife came out, knew who Dad was, and stopped him to thank him. Dad looked back at the pasture and said, "Well, now it looks like someone lives here!" and without another word went down the road!

In truth Dad was an institution in Wilder, Idaho. It was unthinkable that he would ever be gone. But, all things come to an end. Dad came up with pancreatic cancer in early 1995; He never would admit he was terminal and I think he was surprised at the end. But a few months later my Father was gone. At the time my family and I were living in Juneau Alaska and I hadn't been quite updated on just how serious it was. So I never got to see my Dad before he died. But I did do something during his illness I, nor any of us, had ever done before. I wrote a letter to him telling him how much I appreciated all the years we had together and all he had taught me. The thing I did different; I told my Dad how much I loved him. Dad had grown up taught that to praise someone or say I love you was a weakness. So affection was not part of our lives growing up with Dad. Looking back I can truthfully say I have no regrets on this issue; I know that my Father loved us so very much and am so grateful I was able to let him know it was returned before he left. I miss him so very much....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Something of importance....

The following blog is about our physical and spiritual wellness.

     I heard the following story on the radio this morning as I was driving on I-86 westbound:

    "It was during a family vacation to Yellowstone Park and my young daughter and I were walking on one of the many boardwalks that take you along the boiling pools in the park. As we walked along my daughter suddenly moved to the very edge of the boardwalk and began a precarious balancing act along that edge. It suddenly occurred to me that this was a perfect teaching moment. I asked my daughter if she knew what she was doing; she replied yes, balancing on the edge was fun. I then told her that her balancing act was putting her in possible harms way. As with most youth this did not deter her a bit as she assumed she could handle it. I then told her this was much like the people in the world who walked the edge of spiritual safety, barely on the path of safety and getting a thrill by almost being in danger, and not aware that one misstep or bump along the way would have them completely off the boardwalk. As this did not impress her I casually moved over to her and then gave her a slight bump that pushed her off the boardwalk onto the ground next to a pool. She was startled and looked around then quickly regained the path. She gave me one of those looks, and then I asked her how she had felt off the boardwalk? She thought a minute then said she was fearful of the immediate danger and also knew it was illegal for her to be off the path. I then explained this is what can happen it one treads the edge of their spiritual path of safety. If you walk on the edge be assured that Satan walks with you and when, not if!, the time is right he will give you a slight nudge to put you off that path. I explained to her that by her sure knowledge of the physical danger here in Yellowstone she knew to regain the path immediately. And also, hopefully, by her sure knowledge of the worldly dangers to her spiritual self she would also know that treading the that edge would also lead to a far more deadly danger. She thought this all over and as we continued down the paths I noticed that she no longer balanced on the edge but rather stayed to the middle in safety."

    I do not post this to cast any aspersions; nor do I EVER judge anyone else save myself. I find myself with at least one foot off the spiritual path of safety at this time in my life and know what I need to get back on that boardwalk! I hope that this message will simply make you pause and consider what is ahead in your life, both here and later.