top :: Papa and younger brother, Kees, in my father's greenhouse
middle :: summer family photo circa 1989-ish, I know you're loving the sock/shoe combination
bottom: autumn family photo maybe the same year, not really sure
My father (Papa) has an interesting story. Born in a small mussel fishing village in the south of the Netherlands in 1949, my father came from humble beginnings. The only boy and youngest of three, my father began working at a young age for local horticulturists after his own father's health succumbed to cancer when he was only eight years old. Developing a love for the world of horticulture, my father studied collegiately in this field before moving to Guernsey, one of the English channel islands, at age nineteen to work. At the time, he knew little English except for his beloved Beatles songs. Today, if you ask nicely, he may take requests.
While working in Guernsey, my father lived with an elderly couple, the Myrtles. Their accents sound a bit like-to me, at least-Mr. and Mrs. Bouquet from the television show Keeping Up Appearances. After three years in Guernsey, my father moved to Ontario to work with at a Dutch family's greenhouse. It was here that my father came to know the Lord.
I'm unsure how many years he worked in Ontario, but at some point he partnered with a colleague in Ontario to purchase his own greenhouse in Utica, New York. His search for cheap-to-free physical therapy for an old soccer injury led him to my mother, and they wed shortly after meeting. My father has seen many places and met many people, but he is happiest when home with family.
After losing his own father at a young age, my father lost his own son when Kees, my brother, was just fourteen years old. Even in the depths of his sorrow my father still rejoiced in the Lord and encourages me to do the same. We don't speak often, but when we do I listen.
Today he shared the following from his current devotional Jesus Calling.
When things seem to be going all wrong, stop and affirm your trust in Me. Calmly bring these matters to Me, and leave them in My capable hands. Then, simply do the next thing. Stay in touch with Me through thankful, trusting prayers, resting in My sovereign control. Rejoice in Me - exult in the God of your salvation! As you trust Me, I make your feet like the feet of a deer. I enable you to walk and make progress upon the high places.
Job 13:15; Psalm 18:33; Habakkuk 3:17-19
The greatest earthly gift is a father who points you toward your heavenly one.