My father has never been a man of many words.
Sometimes friends would come over and say "I don't think he likes me," because he is so solemn compared to my incredibly friendly mother.
But when he does speak, it is always something good.
I remember one time when I was fourteen I was having a hard time loving someone and feeling guilty for not being able to love them perfectly all at once. He talked me through it, and when I looked over at the end of our conversation, I saw that he had been playing Bejeweled on his cell phone the whole time. I don't know anyone else who can give spiritual advice while playing a game on their cell phone.
Another time my mom was upset with someone and was about to give them a piece of her mind. "Michelle," my father said calmly, "what are you trying to accomplish? You know that you don't have the power to change them. Are you doing this just to show them how angry you are? What good will that do?" My mom did not speak her mind and instead saved that relationship. I think of those words every time I get upset, and have saved many relationships.
He has told me wonderful stories about his childhood in Hurricane, Utah, and especially about my great-grandparents. Those stories help me feel connected to those family members who I didn't have the chance to know very well. My father's stories have instilled in me the values of my ancestors, and have given me a desire to live a life that they would be proud of.
He hardly ever gets mad. He has an incredible patience. He is the voice of calm and reason in a family full of crazy people. Sometimes I wonder why he puts up with us.
But the most amazing messages he gives are not in words. His actions speak volumes about his character.
He works two jobs to support our family, then serves about 20 hours a week as a Bishop. And he never complains.
Once he said, "That boy thinks he knows what love is? Wait until he works his fingers to the bone for his family and barely ever gets to see them. Then he'll know what love is."
Whenever he has time off, he is not idle either. He's always fixing something around the house, doing paperwork, reading Harry Potter to my little brother. Every once in a while I'll find him reading a Louis Lamour book.
I honestly don't know how he does it.
He was always there to help me with my math or chemistry homework, even if it took an hour and a half. He is always willing to check my car before I went on a long trip, or help me with my taxes, or book my flight home for Christmas. As busy as he is, he never pushes me away when I need help.
Although he isn't home very often and doesn't speak very much, I know that he loves me because of the life he lives. And I aspire to be as hard-working and patient as he is.
One of my favorite things in the world is to be embraced by him and have him tell me, "I'm proud of you." When those words come from the most amazing man you know, you must be doing something right.
I love you Daddy.