By Lora Chandler
The true heart of a father is seen in everyday moments of life.
My daddy was a big man who loved to laugh and knew what it meant to “seek peace and pursue it.” His words were kind, his instruction, gentle.
I never knew a man who worked harder, longer, with more patience or less complaining.
Daddy simply did what he had to do, all day, every day.
Working closely with him on the farm, I learned a calm rhythm of life, accepting that if daddy were whistling a tune, all was well.
His goodness and steady manner was the strength of our family. He took command of fearful situations by simply saying, “Aw, it’s all right.”
Those few words reminded us that, no matter the danger, our daddy was with us and he was enough.
I remember once, he trapped a field mouse in an irrigation tube with every intention of killing it since rodents are grievous pests for a peanut farmer. But the idea of the doomed mouse trapped in that tube was too much for my 10-year-old heart. I cried and begged him to have mercy on the mouse.
With his arms stretched wide, one of his huge hands on either end of the tube, the little mouse scurrying frantically inside, daddy’s face reflected a power struggle. He had every right to destroy the pest that damaged his crops. It was simply a matter of justice — the right thing to do.
But there in front of him was his child, begging his grace and mercy on the condemned.
“Aw, for goodness’ sake,” he said. He lowered the tube to the sandy furrow and freed the mouse.
On New Year’s Eve, 1991, my father came in, hung his jacket on the back of a chair and his hat on one post of the same chair, rested his cane against it, took his bath, and went to sleep. When he awoke, he was with God. In death, as in life, he was at peace.
While driving home from work one day, a song came on the radio that my daddy used to play on his guitar. I pulled off the road and listened until the song ended, while crying thankful tears for a man whose goodness left its lasting mark on my life.
I felt his presence and I could almost hear him whistling.
A father can be a living picture of Christ to his children and they will learn to be like Christ because of it.
“Love life. Desire to see good days. Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:12-14)
That was the heart of my father.
Lora Chandler is the secretary and bookkeeper for the Third and Kilgore Church of Christ in Portales. Contact her at: