I wrote this book to honor my father.
I wrote this book, as well, to honor my Father.
This book is about a father-son relationship. It is also about a Father-son relationship.
It tells the heart-wrenching story of how the Battle of Okinawa, during World War II, changed my earthly father—permanently. It is about the ways in which our circumstances add to our own, personal story.
Had my father stood just two feet to his left when a Japanese sniper killed his best friend, I would not even be here to write this book. And, you would not be able to enjoy it.
This book is about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and how it affects not only the victim but also the people around him, especially those who are closest to him. The forgotten world. The collateral damage.
This book is about forgiveness—about coming to grips, finally, with who my father was and why he lived the way he lived, and why he treated me the way he did.
This book tells the story of how I, as a very young child, hallowed my father as my personal hero, until one day ... I didn't. And it tells how I eventually honored my father as a hero once again, at the time of his death. The real heart story that I pour out in this book is the time in between. The ups and downs, the fears, the pain of being a frustrated child, young adult, and mature adult, and the memories of a father who struggled so hard at being a good parent, only to come up short because he did not know how, or simply couldn't.
The careful reader will note the order of the names I have of my father through the book—daddy, father, and dad. The order is important. In fact, it is the focus of this book. It leads the reader to ask the question about his or her own father. Is he a dad, or just a father?
Ultimately, this book is about God. Life is all about God, even my father's life, and my own life.
The Book of Ecclesiastes (KJV) says it best:
To every thing there is a season
And a time to every purpose under the heaven
A time to be born, and a time to die
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted
A time to kill, and a time to heal
A time to break down, and a time to build up
A time to weep, and a time to laugh
A time to mourn, and a time to dance
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing
A time to get, and a time to lose
A time to keep, and a time to cast away
A time to rend, and a time to sew
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak
A time to love, and a time to hate
A time of war, and a time of peace.
This was true of my father's life. There was a time for him to enjoy his early childhood and his high school days of being a football superstar, when life was simple and fun and carefree, and a time to go to war. He never really had an opportunity to weep, laugh, and sew his life back together. Or perhaps, he simply couldn't.
This is also true of my own life. There was a time for me to enjoy my childhood. There was a time to weep and refrain from embracing, and a time to lose, throw away, and keep silent. And thankfully, there was a time to heal.
Writing this book is my time to heal.
As God says so insightfully in Psalm 90, "We spend our years as a tale that is told."
Here is my tale to be told.