I’m back in Ohio.
I just managed to sneak out during this massive blizzard in NYC, because I had an important audition back home.
You know what I did last night?
Watched Notting Hill.
Yes yes, the classic 90’s chick flick with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts.
I had never seen it. And it turns out, it’s one of my parents’ favorite movies.
My dad was literally quoting parts of it.
There were gut laughs. There were tears. There were cringe groans.
If you haven’t seen it…it’s simply delightful.
Speaking of my dad, it was recently his birthday. And honestly, I feel like one of the luckiest girls in the world to have such a solid man in my life.
But if there was one word that comes to mind when I think of him, it would have to be dignity.
But maybe not for the reasons that you think.
Yes, of course he is a dignified man – strong, with a steady moral compass. But that’s not why he’s earned that connotation.
It’s for the way he treats others: with dignity.
Every person – be it the waiter, a friend, a high powered exec, his family, the exterminator – he sees the worth and value in each and every person, and then treats them with such honor and respect.
What an incredible gift to give his children: to lead by example, and to show that every person – no matter who they are, where they live, what their profession, race, age, belief system, income bracket — every single person is a child of God and deserves to be treated as such.
I remember one afternoon, we were driving downtown, and we were stopped at a stoplight, and he saw this homeless man on the side of the road. And this man was truly down on his luck. He was incredibly frail and emaciated. And he wasn’t busking or panhandling for money. He was just sitting with a sign that said “God bless you.”
And I could see my dad being visibly moved by the haunting condition of this man. And he got out of the car, ran and handed him a $100 dollar bill.
When he got back in the car, he just looked at me and said, “That was a man in need.”
It’s no secret, that my dad has been an incredibly powerful source of strength in my recovery from anorexia.
From the hours and hours he spent with me going to all different restaurants and buffets around the city, to taking me to all my doctors appointments, to taking walks with me, to researching the best weight gaining drinks money could buy, to being there for me with a strong shoulder to cry on as my world crumbled around me, to simply just believing in me when I couldn’t believe in myself.
He loved me through the moments when I felt the most undeserving of love.
He showed me the love of The Father.
And even to this day, we’ll be talking on the phone, and often times, we’ll be signing off, and he’ll say, “Let someone love you, Caralyn. You are so deserving of love. Let someone in.”
Gosh, here come the waterworks. (I promised myself I wouldn’t cry!)
That is my father’s gift. It’s no secret that he ran a very successful business. He has been praised for his incredible leadership skills. And people have always tried to pinpoint just what those traits were that made him such a good leader.
And I think I’ve finally figured it out:
He treated everyone with dignity.
Dignity: being worthy of honor or respect.
In this world of texting, and ghosting, and closing yourself off to the outside world through the privacy of your earbuds, or having your nose buried in your cell phone, it is so refreshing for someone to look you in the eye and acknowledge that you are in fact, a real human being. With feelings. And with a need for human connection and respect.
Seeing my dad tonight, cracking up at Hugh Grant in Notting Hill, and beaming with joy to have me home, and showing my mom so much love and care – I was seeing all the beautiful aspects of who he is. The vibrant colors of who this man is, were shining, and it was a sight so beautiful to behold.
I pray tonight, as I reflect on my father, that the Lord show me how to communicate with others their own dignity. Just like he does.
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