Saturday, June 16, 2018


Well, it's another Father's Day and as always, I find myself missing my dad.  So in honor of my dad, Bill Kampe, I'm re-posting this blog (as I seem to do every year), that I wrote many years ago. Happy Father's Day, Dad. I miss you. More now than ever. I could really use your advice and wisdom, because life is crazy right now. Why can't you be here? I can't wait to see you again someday. I'll bet the fishing is great! You'll have to show me all the good spots when I get there!

For me, one of the most comforting aspects of the Christian faith is that God is our “Father”. (Psalms 68:5) My dad died about 12 years ago. That’s something that I never thought I would have to say, let alone write in a blog. “My dad died.” You always look at your parents as being somewhat immortal; especially dads. But they die, and I guess a little part of us was created to expect it. It's natural to lose your parents one day, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Damn it, Dad! Why did you have to leave? 

Each time I talk about my dad, and get to the point of talking about his death, I feel my eyes watering up and my voice crack a little; even today. It’s funny, but I miss him more and more as the years go by. Something will pop into my head, some thought that I want to share with him, or something will happen where I could really use his advice. It’s funny, but sometimes I have to remind myself that he’s not there.

A few years ago, my 15 year old son was experimenting with his electronic set and asking questions that were a little out of my field of knowledge. My dad was an electrical engineer and I began to tell him about how this is the kind of stuff Paw Paw did for a living. He would have loved teaching him how it all worked and the fact that his grandson was showing some aptitude in this area would have given him such a thrill. More than likely, my son Lucas will be an engineer. How I wish that my dad could see that. But my dad was also an introspective poet that loved his first grandson more than life itself. I can in imagine philosophical conversations and advice on love and living life to it;s fullest. Ian, Paw Paw would encourage you more than I ever can! I'll try to share what I learned.     

It’s funny, but I can still hear my Dad’s voice, as if I had just talked with him a few days ago. When I’m away from my wife and boys, I sometimes forget their voices, but I remember my dad’s voice. I remember the deep tone it had and the calm and methodical way he spoke. When he was excited or passionate about something, he would get more animated and stutter a little. That’s how you could tell that he was really interested in the conversation.

I remember my dad coming home from work late in the day. He would open the door quickly and come through with a big stride. He always had the paper in his hand and would lightly hit me with it. “Hey, guy!”, he would say with a big smile, and would go in the kitchen to say hi to Mom. That “dad smell” would waft passed me as he went by, and I felt comfortable. I felt safe. Dad was home.

I’ve learned that being a dad is a lot harder than being a son. My dad told me one time that I would never feel the same security that I did when I was a boy living at home, once I had my own family. And he was right, to an extent. I’m the one who carries the burdens and fights the monsters under the bed. I’m the one that is responsible for creating the safe structure of home and peace that my boys rest in.

But like I said, my dad was only right to an extent. I believe that even though I have the enormous responsibility of being a father, the burden is not 100% on my shoulders. We are stewards of these amazing gifts that God has given us. God still calls the plays; we just carry the ball. And I do feel some shades of the security that I once felt as a child from time to time. When I feel close to God and His presence is evident, flowing around me, I feel safe. When I come to Him as a little child, and rest in His arms, I feel peace. And as I comfort my boys and do my best to create the peaceful structure that they deserve, I feel God doing the same for me. He’s my Father. He’s Dad. (John 20:17)

My dad believed in God, but I don’t know if He felt the same security on which I’ve learned to depend. I think that he carried a lot of burdens that he didn’t realize were not his to carry. Burdens that I carry myself. See, my grandfather died when my Dad was only 9 years old, so he had to learn how to be a dad with only a small point of reference. He had to learn to depend on himself for much of his life and that made him a little harder. He grew up without a father and I wonder how much different his life would have been had his dad lived a longer life. And for that matter, what would my life be like today?

Either way, dad did his very best at raising two boys, and he did a damn good job; maybe better than me. I told him that a few years before he died, and he said that that was one of those things you wait your entire parenting life to hear. I hope to hear it someday, and I hope that my boys will grow up feeling just a little more security than I did. Not security from me, but from God, who wants them to have a peace that transcends all of their understanding. (Philippians 4:7) I want them to feel that security of knowing that everything is OK. It’s taken care of. Dad’s home. 


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this. I appreciate it.

Vicki said...

hi jake - i saw this on jim palmer's fb and followed it up. thank you for sharing some of your story. it is powerful. i lost my mom 20 months ago unexpectedly and as the daugher in the family, see my own role now increasing to protect and nurture my dad, who was MY hero, my protector, my prince. in some ways, he always will be. your dad sounds like a wonderful man - to lose his own dad at 9 yet to become such a good dad himself feels so beautiful. i groan along with you the seeing of lost loved ones again, even as we grief their physical absence with us now.

Lanny said...

Jake, I have no doubt your dad is so proud of you. You have a great talent with your ability to relate your experiences into the Word in a way to share God’s message. I too can remember your dad’s voice exactly in the ways you described it and I can recall times I heard each. It made me smile when you mentioned that stutter, you really could tell his engine was revving when he started that. I also remember the reassuring tone he had when he knew you needed counsel. I can sense that same reassuring tone in your writing. I could go on and on about the little things that cause me to think of him. He comes to my mind more often than you can imagine. Thanks for sharing and using your experiences to bring to life the fact that there is a place where we can always find security and peace; in the arms of our heavenly Father.

Anonymous said...

You're a good son.

Peter Lelsz said...

Jake, Thanks for posting this picture of Bill. I and my family have many fond memories of him when we were kids.