John Franklin Villers.
My father. My daddy. My inspiration. My teacher. My confidante. My coach. My advisor. My counselor. My beacon.
One of the most amazing things about my father is how proud he is of me. No matter what I do, even if I think I am in trouble for something, he finds something in the situation that makes him proud of me and always, always shares that with me. My heart breaks in two when I listen to some of my friends and colleagues talk about how they were never good enough for their father. I've never, for one moment, doubted the most Christ-like love of which my parents give to me and to each other. I'd say that ours is a perfect love developed out of all of the imperfections of life.
My father is the most confident, assertive, spiritual, dedicated man I've ever encountered. And he's mine! How did I get so lucky? If he has a dream, he goes for it. A goal? Accomplished. Family prayer and scripture reading every day? Never misses a day. And, I believe it is safe to say that all you read about Gym is a major influence of my father, who regularly finishes 5k's, 100-mile bike rides, triathlons, and 4am workout's.
As much trouble as I have pinpointing favorites in my life, I can very easily tell you my favorite thing about Daddy Villers: his love. Because of the love my father has for me, I am so much more readily and willingly able to know, feel, and accept the love my Heavenly Father has for me. Even when the rest of the world seems dark and I am struggling, I can always pray to my Heavenly Father and know He is there and loves me. One of my biggest fears in the world is disappointing my father. Knowing what I need to do to make him proud of me also helps give me the knowledge of the path I need to follow to return to my Father in Heaven. I also, in my father, see the forgiving nature of eternity. I have made more than my fair share of mistakes. I honestly could not tell you if my father even remembers what those mistakes are because he helps me learn my lesson and then move on to bigger and better. He always knows what I need and when - even randomly sending me notes in the mail with his testimony or how much he loves me or a little check to buy myself flowers with. He also has this remarkable ability to love all of those he comes into contact with - and has influenced more lives than you can ever count because of his compassion.
My dad gave me life. He gave me love. He gave me eternal happiness.
I love this man with all my heart.