never-ending love and faithfulness. About his very abnormal ability to choose love and righteousness over bitterness or cynicism. About his love for learning and his flexibility. Though I'm certain that he is human (and allegedly flawed like the rest of us)...the typical human traits of self-promotion and self-defense and self-importance are strangely absent. He cares about being liked....I think I get that from him. But rather than try to convince you about his worth and greatness or his many areas of wisdom and experience and expertise, he'd usually rather stoop down on all fours to be your footstool for changing a lightbulb...if that's what you needed...
His name means a great deal to many people. I grew up knowing that. My last name was big in a small town. And I carried it happily, gratefully. Because without fail, wherever I went, I got to hear stories of how my father had blessed and enriched someone's life with his teaching or his kindness or his care. I got to hear about his wisdom and his integrity.
I believed them...and I felt proud. But to me, he was not important because of his ministry or because of his small-town fame... he was important because he was the one who packed my lunches and drew stick-figure pictures on the brown paper bag. He made me omelettes for breakfast and read Proverbs to us every morning. He helped me with my horrible geometry homework and listened when I was frustrated or excited or nervous. He told me long, running stories about Charlie Chipmunk every night. He loved my friends and invested in them too. He still does. I could always find him in his office reading or praying early in the morning. And I knew that often, he was praying for me. Still does. He fixed just about anything of mine that was broken, and now he fixes things for my children...even cheap dollar store things that should probably just be thrown away. It's impossible to buy him anything, because he never talks about things he wants. At family gatherings, when all the adults in the room are tired and just want to sit for some adult conversation, he's usually outside playing with the kids.
As an adult, I still get to hear those gushing stories about my dad often (though sometimes now, I get to reveal my relationship to him in my own time and on my own terms, since I'm disguised by new Corbin name).
He isn't a saintly hero to everyone. But to me he's the closest human to ever deserve that title.
Happy Birthday Dad. I love you.