In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful
Many times in the past, I have reflected – around Father’s Day – about what it means to me to be a father. It has always been an important exercise for me, but it was only this year that I realized that I really haven’t reflected over the great man that is my father. Thus, this year, I will tell the world about that man who is my father.
Throughout my entire life, my father has toiled, struggled, and worked to give his family – by God’s Grace – a comfortable living. He came to this country more than 35 years ago to build a better life for his new family. I know he succeeded, because all I every knew about my childhood was punctuated by ease, comfort, happiness, and love. My father is a very smart man, an accomplished mechanical engineer in the nuclear power field. He is organized, neat, and has some of the best handwriting I have ever seen.
Yet, there is so much more to the man, and it is difficult to truly convey how special he is to me. He is a firm disciplinarian, but he is not an authoritarian dictator. He is a stickler for neatness, but he is not tyrannical in his quest for order. My father believes in the best things in life, but he is not an arrogant snob who looks down on other people. He strikes an excellent balance, and it has helped me tremendously.
Yet, what I never realized until recently was the beauty of the man’s heart. He is one of the kindest men you will ever be fortunate enough to know. His love for me and my three other siblings (as well as my mother) knows no bounds. Our life was never wanting – not in the least bit – but even more, he would not stop at anything simply to make us happy.
For instance, my father had known for a very long time that I wanted, more than anything else, to be a doctor. When I was in college, there was a moment when I had wavered and considered abandoning my ambition to become a physician and follow his footsteps into engineering. He strongly discouraged me from doing that – because he knew in his heart of hearts that I would never be happy in any other field but medicine. And I thank the Precious Lord that I listened to him.
Another moment I will never forget is right after I got married: he took me aside and gave me sage and time-honored advice about married life that has helped me throughout my marriage to my beautiful wife. He never knew it, but those moments we had together – just father and son – were some of the most precious of my life. It was the best wedding gift – among the many he showered my wife and me – I could have ever had.
Yet, the magnanimity of my father’s heart and soul truly shined with the birth of my children. His love for them – and my other nieces – is truly beyond description. Every time he comes over to my house, he has something in his hand for my children. He holds them with such love, such reverence, such gentleness, it is truly amazing. When my late, eldest daughter was first diagnosed with the terrible disease Ataxia-Telangiectasia, my father was devastated, and I could almost hear his tears flowing on the phone when we spoke.
Her death hit him particularly hard, and I never knew how much he truly loved my late daughter until she was with us no more. His tears in mourning for her are never far away, and they are fast and furious. I try to comfort him as much as possible, as he has comforted me so many, many times throughout my life. Although I frequently am in need of his comfort for me, I exert so much effort to ease his pain because, it is the very least I can do for the amazing man I call “Abataah” (an endearing Arabic name for “Dad”).
Fiercely dedicated to his family, strongly devoted to his God, plentiful in love and compassion, impressive in his earthly knowledge, magnanimous in heart and soul, impeccable in his refinement, notorious for his kindness: that is my father. There is not a day that goes by that I do not pray for this beautiful man. My desire to be in his good graces is constant throughout my life. I seek God’s undying forgiveness if I have ever disappointed my father or fallen short of his expectations. I could not have been given a more perfect man for a father, and I thank the Precious Lord above for ever and ever for giving him to me.
Happy Father’s Day, Abataah. I don’t think you know how much I truly love you.