17 August 2015

Speaking well (1)

A friend of mine recently blogged an amazing tribute to her husband because why wait to say these things?

I love the sentiment of saying good about people before you have to. Ya know, like at a funeral.

Many years ago I said to my Dad that I wanted to say some things to him while he was still young enough for him to know I was just showing appreciation rather than getting in kind words because I thought his days were numbered. Kinda brutal introduction to an early eulogy but we get each other in this way.

I'm not claiming this blog has much of a readership but inspired by my friend Helen and an ongoing desire to speak well of the living, I thought I would write some premature eulogies. The first one is for my Dad.

In certain circles, mentioning 'Bill Summers' is like having a skeleton key! When I was younger, hearing 'Oh you're Bill Summers' daughter? usually meant I'd better behave otherwise my misdemeanours would be getting back to the old man. As time went on, I realised it meant they had probably been praying for me and my siblings for many years and I owed them a debt of gratitude. In fact, it was only a couple of months ago someone said to me that they were showing me a kindness because of who my Dad is. I could take it as a back-handed compliment or be grateful that I have a father who commands so much respect that I'm a beneficiary of his character.

So what qualities does this man have? He is, above everything else, someone who loves the Lord Jesus and cares for nothing so much as knowing him more and encouraging others to do the same. He is a faithful father and husband. He is highly intelligent despite spending most of his school years gawping out the window at the cricket field and leaving with no qualifications. His thirst for truth, understanding and knowledge has taken him round the world. He is a natural teacher. My son and I joke that it's possible to say; 'So Grandad, the Bible...' then sit back and enjoy an extemporised sermon! He is also the man who used to chase us kids up the stairs to bed at night pretending to be a gorilla.

He Ioves to laugh. He loves to be in touch with his family. He loves gardening and swinging an axe to chop wood. He loves crosswords. He has read hundreds if not thousands of books. He loves words. He loves the outdoors and bird watching. He loves the Bible. He also loves winding people up and I'm no exception!

He is shockingly generous and intimidatingly sharp. He's a keen observer of human nature and doesn't suffer fools gladly. He is fiercely protective of his loved ones.

Whoever you are, I wish you could meet him. He is inspirational. He makes you want to be a better person. I love him.

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