My Dad Taught Me To Sew

Today marks what would have been my Dad’s 79th birthday. He passed away two years ago.

So, this is to honor him and, being that it’s almost Father’s Day, I figured you wouldn’t mind because there’s some sewing parallels to be observed here.

Dad bought me a little battery operated chain stitch sewing machine for my 7th birthday.

Dad? Yeah.

My mom didn’t know much about sewing. She was an amazing knitter though.

But, Dad knew and he was good.

Growing up during the Depression, son of a gasoline station owner, he was a hard worker. His parents thought he should know how to do things, even “girl” things like cooking, sewing and ironing.

Dad worked his first job at age ten driving big trucks of gasoline from Colorado Springs to Montrose, Colorado and back again. In those days, no one worried about safety, driver’s licenses or being too young to do a man’s job. You just did what you had to do to keep food on the table. That meant the whole family chipped in to help. He worked hard and kept good grades. He earned a football scholarship to the University of Colorado and then became a doctor.

sewing blog 288

So, I like to tease that he sewed on fabric and people.

And he was good at both.

Once, when I  was little, we had a kitten who shredded the shears (shears are thin wispy draperies for those of you who were born after 1980!) Maybe your grandmother has some hanging in her home.

Dad sat down to an old Italian sewing machine and repaired those drapes until they looked brand new. None of us figured out how he did it. There was no sign of kitty and no sign of human intervention by the time he was finished with them. I was impressed to say the least.

That was Dad. He had the money to go out and buy a new pair, but he chose to fix them himself.

He was a doctor but that wasn’t enough for him.

As he operated on people, he saw the need for more advanced surgical devices and equipment. Since they weren’t available, he decided to solve that problem and make them himself.  His first invention was a shunt. This led to him developing and manufacturing all sorts of medical equipment, fiber optic cameras, instruments, software and was working on a cure for cancer. By the time he died, he had 268 patents to his name.

Did I get any of those genes? Well, I do think of things to invent from time to time, but I never have figured out how to follow through with them. I certainly didn’t get the “brilliant” genes or the “I want to go inside people’s guts and fix what’s wrong” genes.

But what I did get from him was a good work ethic. All eight of us kids got that. None of us are doctors, but each one is accomplished in their field.

It wasn’t just the hard work, brains and skill he possessed, as impressive as those were.

He had a kind and gentle spirit and a great sense of humor. These are what pop into my mind when I think about him.

What does this have to do with sewing?

Well, these are the things that make a good seamstress or tailor.

You need a sense of humor when you are ripping out a seam for the fourth time.

You need a kind and gentle spirit or you’ll throw the garment in the trash or cut it up with scissors if you’re too frustrated!

Anyone?

You need to persevere because if you don’t get it the first time, and you give up, you’ve lost the battle before you’ve even begun. If you keep on trying, you’ll get it and you’ll be glad you did.

The results are worth it. Whether it’s raising kids, working hard in school, managing a team of people or fixing a wedding dress emergency three hours before the ceremony…all these things make a difference.

They make a difference in your character and in the lives of those you come in contact with.

But, there’s one other thing I need to say about my Dad.

I’m sure he’s in heaven today.

Is it because he was such a great guy?

No. He’d be the first to say he wasn’t.

He made mistakes. He failed. He had regrets.

Deep ones.

He fell asleep at the wheel in his early years and his wife died as a result.

Can you imagine? That would be an awful burden to live with your whole life.

There are other things.

The point is, it’s not what he accomplished in life or whether he was a good guy that got him into heaven. In fact, nothing you or I do gets us there.

It’s not about us.

It’s about God sending His Son Jesus to die in our place on the cross.

When we stop trying to “earn” our way into heaven, which the Bible says is impossible anyway because of our sin, and we trust that what Jesus did on the cross for us is enough, we are saved from hell. John 5: 24 says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life.”

We receive this gift of eternal life by faith. It’s not enough to believe in God. Satan believes in God, but he’s not going to heaven.

It’s transferring trust in myself and my own good works to trusting in what Jesus did to save me.

So, what’s the incentive to live a good life and do good things for others?

It’s to say “thank you” to God for the amazing gift of eternal life He gave us.

Dad understood that Jesus died for his sins. About three weeks before he died, he told me he made that decision. He was forgiven of all the regrets, sins, and mistakes in his life. I am too.

Yeah, I’m taking a risk by telling you this on this sewing blog, but I don’t earn any “brownie points” for this. In fact, I have alot to lose, including your readership. But, I have found that nothing is better than knowing God. I tried life without God and I failed miserably. I still fail, but I know that God will pick me up, forgive me and give me another fresh start…every day.

He’s amazing.

Not me.

Not my Dad.

God is.

God is amazing.

How many generations will remember you when you’re gone? Maybe one or two.

How many more years have you got? You may not even have one. Make that decision to trust in Jesus today. All you have to do is ask Him.

And while you’re at it, say “thanks” to your Dad for the good qualities he has….while you still can.

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7 Responses

  1. What a beautiful tribute to both Fathers, biological and spiritual.

  2. Lovely tribute to your father. Thank you for sharing so much about him. I enjoyed this post very much.

    When I think of loved ones who have passed I also think of Jesus Christ. How grateful I am for blessings from a loving God in Heaven.

  3. Wow, Linda, June flew by and I didn’t get to your website, so I am reading this now. It’s beautiful, and gives me tears. Your dad was a great guy and he has an amazing daughter! You said everything so well.

  4. I ran across your blog while skimming through thepioneerwoman.com’s site (comments to blogs). This is an awesome tribute to your father. You are a talented seamstress and writer – and your dad would be proud. God Bless you both.

  5. Dad would have liked this Linda!

  6. Dear Linda, thank you for the beautiful emotions that your poetic words are conveying…your Earthly and Heavenly Fathers are amazing indeed!

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