On Being A Dad

David Stertz
July 6, 2022

Today is my birthday. It did not go as I expected – not that I expected much! My plan was to work through the morning and afternoon, go out to eat with my family, and enjoy fresh strawberry pie (my favorite!) rather than birthday cake. Instead, I spent a good part of my day in the ER. One of my sons had an accident and broke his wrist pretty badly. Four and half hours later, I am back in the office.

While I drove him to the ER, he was in a lot of pain. He is a tough guy but this was agonizing pain. He got to the ER and and the nurses asked to him to rank his pain from one to ten with ten being the worst. He said, “six or seven.” They knew and I knew he was not telling the full truth. It was bad. But he held it together well. I overheard one of the nurses say, “this kid should teach adults how to handle pain!” Thankfully, the prognoses looks good. Two bones broken, but they should heal well. 

When they set his wrist, the doctor had him completely sedated. He was mercifully asleep as they moved his bones back into position. They left, and I was alone with him in the room for a few minutes as the medication wore off so that he would wake back up. All through the time in the hospital my phone was lighting up like a Christmas tree with birthday wishes: texts, FB messages, phone calls, ect. . . “Happy Birthday!” 

It was quiet and I had some time to reflect. This thought hit me – “there is no place I would rather be than right here on my birthday.” No, it is not that I wished my son would be hurt. Rather, being a dad is a great gift. To squeeze a held hand while a child is hurting, shed tears with them, and of course most of the time celebrating good things – these are wonderful presents.

Parenting is a gracious gift from God. There are hard times of course. But even these can be blessings from God. I learned in a new and deeper way on my birthday what it means when Jesus said, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Giving to my son, being there with him and for him, and enjoying ice cream afterwards together – no better gift could be had.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” Psalm 127:3