Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Week 82 - Father's Day, Sacrifices, and Dad (June 12, 2017)

(Title: Noun #1, Noun #2, and Noun #3 (Week count that's probably off
by one or two))

(Intro Thingy),

(Short transitional paragraph trying to express gratitude and start
into whatever theme I've prepared.) (Gratitude.)

(Short humorous anecdote to lighten the mood before the hefty content arrives.)

(Point #1 as referenced in the title)

(Point #2 as referenced in the title)

(Point #3 as referenced in the title)



-Elder Alex Hacker

(Pictures I always forget to include. Literally always. I think maybe
3 times total I've actually sent a picture.)

...And that's the cheap and easy formula for any who want to learn to
write really cool emails. Try and use alliteration with the three
nouns and make at least one kinda unexpected. Shoot for excessively
long and ramble paragraphs. Remember to swap your name in for mine for
those who copy and paste this draft word for word. Liberal use of
cheese and sentiment is allowed but at least of the three points
should be vaguely lighthearted. Express love and gratitude somewhere
in the email :)

If I needed evidence if I've changed over 18 months one would need
look no further than the number of exclamation marks and smiley faces
I use now compared to before! :) !  !  :)  ! (:

It's funny how I'm actually almost following the formula I just
roasted myself with. Not even intentionally. I was just really unsure
how to start out this email but I'm pretty happy with how that turned
out. I guess I didn't know what I wanted to say this week. Normally
the random tidbits you guys read are inspired by some events during
the week, some profound though someone else shared with me, some old
memory that kindles back to life, etc... and that still happened this
week. More so than usual! We were living in an appartement of 6 for
the most of the week and constantly swapping companions which made for
extra things I've learned, friendships fortified, crazy stories and
thoughts... I don't think many of them are meant to be shared, or at
least aren't meant to be shared in this sort of a format. I'll share
those tales in a few months when we sit down across the table for a
nice cup of coffee... of Sam's Club/Costco Hot Dogs because that's more
up by fiscal and moral alleyway! Though for now, I'll just talk about
my Dad.

I wrote about Mom not too long ago. And it's different writing about
Mom than writing about Dad. Mom's are different... usually softer...
with more hair. That one is especially true in my case. I couldn't
write about Dad without making that classic joke. He's getting ever
closer to being able to pull off Santa with the whitening of his hair.
That's the other classic joke. The third classic is whenever he burps
he says "barge coming through". I'm not sure what that's referencing
but I think it gets funnier and more endearing as I grow up. Burps
aren't usually endearing, that's the thing you see. And so here I am
writing about Dad(s) not to sure what I want to say, but knowing I
have something to say.

Whenever there was something serious going on, like this email's
tone... it always ended up in Dad's court. Mom was the one who took
care of sleepover requests and rides to friends houses though if that
was a problem at school, a problem at home, a problem in life, a
question about insurance or finances... Dad was the guy to see. Family
feuding, life problems, and college decisions were in his domain too.
I swear he must have absorbed a good 70% of all information on
Wikipedia because he always had the answer to everything. Being the
serious guy sometimes made him have to be the bad guy. And we kids
didn't understand that but now I look back with an eternal
appreciation. For being the firm voice of reason, for boldly
expressing what we shouldn't and should do, for sending us to our
rooms when we misbehaved! I am so grateful Dad loved me enough to send
his son to his room in tears. I'm so grateful Dad was willing to come
down to the room after and try and dry those tears... though sometimes
he would use his analytical, logical, lawyer side a bit too much and
that was where Mom would step in.

In 6th grade Dad drove me to school every day and I'd ask him
questions. And this wasn't something I did with Mom; this was special
Dad/Alex time. I'd ask him about anything I could and he would find
some answer if he didn't have one already. I'd ask him about planets,
about soccer, about being a lawyer, about crazy situations I'd
imagine, about super-heroes and just about anything else! I will
cherish those morning drives until the grave! My Dad lived up to the
legend of knowing just about everything. So than I grew up and I don't
know why... but I ceased to ask my Dad questions. And I don't know why
because I certainly had way more questions of a more pressing and
important nature during that middle period of my life. That's when
things got hard! The most infallible source of knowledge and wisdom
and love who had proved himself time and time again when I asked him
"How big are really big nuclear bombs?", "How come football players
don't try to jump over each other?", "Would Wolverine win in a fight
against Superman?" (He probably cited the actual comic book as his
source for that one) could have easily explained his wisdom about,
"What do I do when I'm sad?", "What should I do with my life?", and
"What's really important?". I didn't ask. He answered anyways. He
answered with his example, his actions, his words, and sometimes by
telling me when I didn't want to listen. And it takes extra love to
tell someone the truth when they don't want to listen.

What brought us together was board games! It wasn't the glorified
cardboard that makes a game but the smiles, laughter, eye rolls and
sighs of defeat that floweth forth! My father collects them and
indoctrinates anyone who joins the family with a deep love of board
games. We didn't do all that many things as a family though we could
always find the time to play some sort of game. Test out the newly
acquired gem of my Father. He would even look for games based on our
interests and skill levels. Dad thought about his kids so much it
changed what board games he collected. That's the profound depths to
which my father cared about me and my siblings! He didn't have a lot
of time, though he always had time to play a board game with us. And
that meant a lot.

You know what impresses me in a very unique way about my father and
fatherhood in general? It's the spirit of sacrifice he has/they should
have! My father was willing to sacrifice his time and efforts to work
for his family. My father was willing to sacrifice being the good guy
sometimes to keep us safe. My father was willing to watch and trust us
make our own choices... even though I can't imagine how scary and
painful it is to watch your children foray out into the big world and
step on the first rake someone left on the ground leaving a nasty
bruise. My father was willing to give up everything to become the
ghost of his very own children. I can't think of anything in which he
truly invested himself that didn't have the welfare of his children in
mind. It wasn't that he stopped living... his life became his family
and kids. He rejoiced when we rejoiced and he was sad when we were

I think we sometimes are willing to make huge sacrifices. I really
think most people would jump into a street to save a stroller and baby
if they were fully aware of the situation. I'd take a bullet for
Jesus! Heck I'd take a bullet for everyone on this list. And that
might come across cruel and dramatic but that really is true. That'd
be super easy. A few seconds of agony. Some blood. A pretty cool scar
and an even cooler story to tell after provided I'm still kicking...
this is too morbid but it illustrates a real point... that's just a
simple yes/no decision about whether I care more about you than
myself. That's an analog switch. Loving somebody more than yourself
for a second isn't hard. We've all done it a thousand times. That
happens every day. What's a lot harder is to live for someone else.
It's a lot harder to live for someone. It takes a lot more to wake up
every morning and do things for someone. I dare say that scraping the
snow off of someone's car every morning for years exacts more
dedication and effort and commitment than jumping in front of a primed

That's how I know my Dad loves me in a way nobody else can ever
approximate. He sacrificed his time, his efforts, his emotions, his
weaknesses and strengths, his money, his wisdom, his pursuits and
desires, his dreams... to exchange them for the dreams, efforts, time,
of people he cared about more than himself. My Father lives for his
kids and his grandkids. I've never seen a tired old lawyer be more
excited to hug his squealing loud grandkids. And that image, when I
see my Dad carrying my Niece in his arms, and when I see they way he
looks at her, well that's the definition of love and sacrifice.

In the spirit of Father's Day make sure you hug yours and tell him how
you feel about him.

Oh, one last thing. You know God? You know what I call him? I think
he's not some glowly cloud somewhere but he's my father. You can
reread this and take about 80% of what I'd written here and apply that
to a relationship with God too. I think the love manifest by my father
makes a pretty solid reflection of the love of the big man upstairs.
The love of your Heavenly Father. You can talk to him, you can ask him
questions, and just like my Dad, he'll answer. He might seem like the
bad guy every now and then but he's probably just as hurt as you are
during those times. He was willing to sacrifice an awful lot to help
you out too. Like my father sacrifices a lot to help me out. And I'm
grateful for both of them. Thanks Dad. I love you. Happy early
Father's Day!

-Elder Greg Hacker's Son

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