Lots of you already know that transferring the celebration of Father’s Day from happy travels to see the patriarch and gifts for the aged man who raised you… I say the transfer to celebrating solely the great man who is the father of your own children is difficult. You have to work to fill the big heart chasm left when the patriarch dies. But almost all of the work was done at Calvary. You know you’ll see your earthly father again when you see your heavenly Father for the first time. There is great support, comfort and hope in Calvary for every situation in the Christian’s life. So I am pretty determined to celebrate Father’s Day with hope and gratitude at the forefront. (Maybe I’m also just preparing myself on paper for a hard day, but I am surely going to give it my very best shot.)
In honor of the memory of my father, I’d like to share this little tribute I received shortly after his passing. It speaks to the value of a good man’s influence, a simple integrity, and just doing the right thing.
I am praying for this sweet man upon whom also fell the good influence that molded me…that persisted through my life in a father that was looking forward to heaven. I’m glad for Dad. Being in glory is the point…the whole point of a life well-lived. In fact, all the other points of light in any life are extinguished at death. But the reflection of THE Light (John 12:46) just brightens to eternity.
Here’s the tribute:
Remembering Lee Holder
Mr. Holder came to Webster’s Chapel School as a teacher about 1951. He taught the 8th and 9th grade. I was a 9th grader. Webster’s Chapel is a small, rural community in Calhoun County. He was a very good teacher. All the students loved him. He was fair, friendly, honest and always had his students’ best interests at heart.
He was our junior high basketball coach. He was skilled at coaching and knew how to get the best out of his players. I was the son of a share-cropper (farmer) and my family could not buy me any basketball shoes. In the 8th grade, a year before Mr. Holder came to be our teacher, I only got to play in the games when we played on an outside court because of not having tennis shoes. I got enough money to buy a pair of shoes in my 9th grade year, and made the team, coached by Mr. Holder. Win or lose, after the games, he would stop by a cafe and we would get a burger. I never had any money. He would buy my burger, but none of the rest of the players ever knew he paid for my food.
I was on the starting five on the team. When I needed to rest, he would call time out. I would take off my shoes and let my substitute borrow them. He didn’t have any tennis shoes, just like me the year before. He was a team player coach. We had a star player on our team, but he hogged the ball, he wanted to be the star player. He benched him for a while, until he played as a team.
This rag tag team beat teams that we were not supposed to. We beat a team one night, a big school, we had to escape the fans and players to keep from getting hurt. They rocked Mr. Holder’s car as we left the parking lot. He wouldn’t let us fight back.
I will forever love this coach and the role he played in my life. He motivated me to do my best regardless of my upbringing. He taught me compassion, team work, do your best, right living, sacrifice, and to invest in others. Perhaps, although as far as I know we hold the record as the best of record winning in basketball that our school ever had. He did his best coaching off the court, by investing in the lives of his students and players.
It was good to see him again after more than 50 years when I visited the Jacksonville Church of Christ. I will see him again when I get to heaven.
Then this handwritten note:
I will forever love this coach, too.