My dad, Raymond A. DeVries, was born on May 14, 1932. He went home to heaven on October 26, 1982. He was 50 years old when he died. I was 17 – a senior in high school.
Today I’ve spent some time reflecting on his life and I can honestly say that I am the man that I am because of the influence that he had on my life. Over the past 28 years I’ve missed him so much. I’ve wished that he could have met my wife – I know he would have loved her and embraced her as his daughter.
And oh how I wish he could know my kids and to have hugged them, and showered them with warmth and love. He would be so proud of them – and believed in them.
He had such an incredible way of doing that – believing in people. He helped me to see that I could pursue my dreams. And in that same way, I’ve tried to help my kids to see that they could pursue their dreams!
On the day of his funeral, I wanted to share a poem called “A Boy’s Tribute To His Dad.” I always regretted that nobody asked me if I wanted to say anything about my dad that day. I wish that I had just volunteered. Looking back on that week now, it is all such a blur. I would have wanted to tell all of the over one thousand people who came that day that my dad was amazing!
There may be other great dads in this world – I’m not going to argue with you about that. However, from my perspective, there’s not a greater dad than mine. I miss him so much!
As a pastor I’ve done many funerals. I always ask the family if anyone would like to say anything during the service. I also offer to read any comments that they might want to share, but can’t. I think it’s my way of making sure they don’t miss out on the opportunity and leave something unsaid.
So today, I’ve decided to let go of my regrets from that day and to share with you this poem that I wanted to read in honor of my dad. I don’t know who wrote it – but I think he says what I’d like to say about my dad.
A Boy’s Tribute To His Dad
Somehow a fellow can’t express
The feelings he has had
The many years he walked and talked
And laughed and played with Dad.
He cannot put in words and love –
The pride that wells within,
The admiration in his heart
Whenever dad looks at him.
Dad is the hero of his dreams
And king upon the throne,
The pattern for that ideal life
Which he would make his own.
He knows that Dad well understands
The conflicts deep within,
And knows the problems he must face
In battles against sin.
The pressure of Dad’s strong hand
The look deep in his eyes,
Speak volumes to a fellow’s heart
When cares of life arise.
And when he kneels with Dad to pray
Before the throne of Grace,
The glory of the unseen world
Illumines all the place.
How could a fellow go astray
Who with his Dad has stood,
Within the secret place of prayer
Before a Holy God.
And this my steady prayer will be
That until life is done,
My conduct here shall honor him
Who proudly calls me “son.”
_ _ _
Thanks for reading the poem and my tribute. I can honestly say that my dad’s prayers with me and for me have marked my life. He was truly a man of God. If I can be like him, and then pass on to my kids my dad’s passion for people, for Jesus, for the church, and for the Bible — they will be truly blessed.
If you are reading this and knew my dad – please take a moment to add your tribute in the comments…