By: Chris Allman
With Father’s Day on the horizon, I feel compelled to post a little testimony that, I believe, will change somebody’s life.
That relationship between father and son can be glorious but at the same time cumbersome. I have four children of my own, two of them boys, so I relate with both sides of this relationship that is, by default, set in stone. By that, I simply mean that it’s a relationship that occurs between two individuals that nothing in this world or apart from this world could possibly sever. My child is my child whether he’s good or bad. Same goes for every father… Nothing could ever change the fact that Rev. C. Max Allman was, is and shall forever remain that one that I call dad.
With that established and understood, allow me to share some truths that, although heavy, are beyond necessary to recognize…
It goes without saying that every relationship has its ups and downs and ins and outs. The father/child relationship is no different. In fact, it can be a much more complicated because of the dynamics that are involved. In the event that your old pal (Insert name here) does you wrong, you have the option of moving on in life without him or her. Things aren’t so simple when things go awry between father and child. Try to move on without reconciliation… It’s just not possible. Wounds that exist between father and child are eternal unless tended. These two hearts are attached with a bond that is inseparable. A child may go to the judge and ask for a divorce from his parents and that judge may rule in his favor, but the decree wouldn’t be worth the paper it was recorded on. Therefore, is it safe to say that the importance of nurturing the father/child relation is essential? I believe so…. And dad, I’m laying this one on your shoulders.
My father and I always had a good relationship. He was a pastor at the same church for 32 years and his position demanded much to most of his time. Growing up, I felt like I got the “left overs”, so to speak. Now, don’t take me wrong. I never felt like I needed to fill a guest spot on the Oprah Winfrey show where I would sit on the couch and bleed for the crowd as I blamed all of my insufficiency on the lack of attention from my father. I’m just saying that this is the way it was. I never rebelled. As a matter of fact, I was very active in every part of the ministry. I respected my father’s position and would have never done anything to harm his reputation (Young ones reading this… Take a hint from that statement). Max was a wonderful man. Soft on the inside but you would have never guessed it as you peered through the tough exterior.
I could write a book about the relationship between my father and me but considering this is a “Blog post”, I’ll get to the point I wish to make.
Just to give you a glimpse of dad, when I would call home and he answered the phone it went something like this, “Hello? Hi dad. Hi son, you want to speak to your mom?”. That was pretty much the extent of our phone conversations and that was after I had moved out of state and only was able to see my parents about two times every year. Once again, this is not to set dad up as a bad man. He didn’t mean any harm by it. It was just him, and I loved him.
Let me ask you this… Do you know anybody who has a hard time saying, “I’m sorry?” Sure you do. Well, that was my dad. His apology was generally assumed when he called me out of the blue just to talk for a second or, when he answered the phone and didn’t immediately hand the receiver to mom. When he gave me a little extra attention, I knew that he felt bad for something he’d said or done. That was always a welcomed gesture but, although well intended, nothing takes the place of a spoken apology.
I had been out for the weekend and was driving through my hometown and met dad and mom for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. It was at that breakfast table where I received the greatest gift from my father that I’d ever received. Up until that day, the chopper bicycle I got for Christmas when I was 10 took the prize but the words he spoke to me as we sat there enjoying a little breakfast changed the scope of our relationship forever. I’ll spare you the details of how we arrived at the subject but dad asked me this question, “Would you consider me a bully?” Needless to say, I was taken aback by his question. Normally it would have been my tendency to shade the truth and tell him what I felt he wanted to hear but for some reason I answered him honestly… “Yes.” With my answer spoken he looked at me and said two words that carry a multitude of healing. “I’m sorry.”
At that point my dad hadn’t ever done anything wrong. He was perfect. Why would I refer to this as the most precious gift I ever received from him? That was the last time I was blessed to see him alive. Some of his last words to me were words of life. A month later my sister called me to tell me that dad had died.
Sir, do you need to speak words of life to your child? Do you believe just being a little kinder is an ample substitute for the words “I’m sorry?” Write this down. An unspoken apology makes for an untended wound.
I miss my father but thankfully I’ll see him again. He taught me that truth. Happy Father’s Day, dad. And thank you for your words that healed me. I love you.