But I Do, Dad

You are often there, in the edges of my dreams. Quiet. Not speaking. 

Not like you were in life. Working, hunting, fishing, fixing – always using your hands. And always, always a story to tell or a tease to offer. You were unable to suppress the grin, the crow’s feet forming around smiling, brown eyes. Yet there, in hazy dreams, you are silent, just watching. A presence. The others do not see you. 

But I do. 

When the sun rises and I’m off into my day, the dreams dissipate like the morning mist. Then, softly and quickly, wispy memories bring you back. As in my dreams, you are there. Quiet. No one sees you. 

But I do.

When my son, who never knew or saw you, moves his hands like you did when he tells a story. When I see the flashing, dark eyes and hear the big laugh of my daughter. When I use a tool, then clean it and put it back in its place like you told me to do a thousand times. When I open that wooden box Uncle Pete made and see your initials on the blade of your knife. When men speak of leading and I remember the kind way that you did. When I see my own crow’s feet reflected back. Then, like that image in the mirror, like the vapor we are, you are gone. 

I have now lived more of my life without you than with you. That former part seems like those dreams. A silent presence. Disjointed, fading scenes. Straining to recall more. Wishing we could talk, but silence. I wonder if anyone remembers you. I then question whether I do.

But I do, Dad.


  1. Ken Larson January 30, 2017 at 6:57 pm #

    Barry, appreciate your entry. It is amazing what you remember and how often you find yourself reflecting on your parents. And as a man your own father in particular. Thanks for sharing. I am sure your Dad would so proud of you. I know I am.


    • Barry York January 30, 2017 at 8:02 pm #

      Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, Ken.

  2. Bethany January 31, 2017 at 9:04 am #

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Barry York January 31, 2017 at 9:12 pm #

      Thank you.

  3. Bob Hemphill February 1, 2017 at 7:06 pm #

    Like. I have many good memories of my own dad.

    • Barry York February 2, 2017 at 7:45 am #

      Thanks, and I’m sure you do.

      • Andrew Kerr February 6, 2017 at 12:15 pm #


        My dad died 18 months ago – I’ve reflected often on the preciousness of this gift of sovereign grace: thte gift of a heart of a son that has a deep affection, love & respect for our earthly father’s & that wants to follow in the steps of their faith. Only in recent months, as I’ve poured through his library containing Edwards, Calvin & others, have I come to understand the depth of his walk. This is something we should pray for in our own children & in the children of our members. When such a reverence for fathers is missing it is a tragic loss in the church.

        • Barry York February 6, 2017 at 4:36 pm #

          Thanks for sharing, Andrew. You were given a great heritage.


  1. A La Carte (January 31) | TLG Christian News - January 31, 2017

    […] But I Do, Dad […]

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