In Honour of My Father

That’s my dad – Joe – visiting me in Japan a few years ago. He tragically passed away last week, and so I thought it appropriate to use this blog as a platform to honour him, as best I can in words. Here goes . . . .

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My dad was not a perfect man, but he was a principled one.

He had many sayings that he lived by, including,

There’s no such thing as can’t, only won’t.

“I was just” is only a phrase you use when you’re making excuses: don’t say it.

If something’s worth doing, then it’s worth doing well.

I’ll try anything  . . . once.

But I think my favourite was,

I’m not lost, I’m just temporarily geographically embarrassed.

(And I can tell you, there were numerous times where we were ‘temporarily geographically embarrassed.’)

He backed up those words with actions: he served in the army during the first gulf war; he ran marathons; he organised night-shelters for the homeless; he even tried eating natto. That went down something like this,

Dad eating nattoIt is in large part due to the upbringing I received from my dad that I moved out to Japan. He taught me the mindset I needed to take the risk, and he encouraged me through the years of preparation. Had he not passed on so soon, he would undoubtedly have visited me many times. I am proud to have his blood in my veins.

 

Now of course he didn’t live up to his standards. No one ever does. Like I said, he was not a perfect man. He had his faults. For instance, not everything he said was inspiring, especially when he was driving.

I remember one time when we were going through town and another driver cut us up, meaning my dad had to brake quite sharply. He then took the opportunity to announce that if the driver did the same again he would,

“Break every nose in his body.”

(I sometimes wondered why God didn’t help my dad to be calmer in such situations. But I think maybe He just really enjoyed my dad’s attempts at trash-talk.)

No, my dad was not a perfect man.

But he is now.

 

You see, one of the other principles that he lived by was faith in the Lord Jesus: the one man who did live perfectly, and then made the way for us to be made likewise.

We’re currently planning the funeral. One thing we have to decide is the songs to sing. It’s tough, because my dad loved to sing (he was in the worship band at church and the local choir) so his favourite songs were many. But one I know he liked to belt out was ‘How Great Thou Art.’

The last verse goes like this,

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then shall I bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, “My God, how great thou art!”

Where does this confidence come from? Why did my dad sing this with so much gusto? Because he was confident he’d perfectly kept God’s principles? No, because he had hope that there was mercy for those who don’t,

And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,
Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Now people say that the true test of a leader happens when they move on: their greatness is demonstrated in the achievements of their followers. So I guess my real tribute to my father happens from now. My life will be his legacy (which is good, because there’s no way a single blog post could honour him sufficiently).

And not just me, the lives of all those he touched will bear witness to the impact of my imperfect, but principled father.

So if you ever find yourself ‘temporarily geographically embarrassed’ in life, remember,

“I was just” is only a phrase you use when you’re making excuses: don’t say it.

If something’s worth doing, then it’s worth doing well.

“There’s no such thing as can’t, only won’t.”

Try anything once.

Trust Jesus

Me and my dad in Tokyo

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17 thoughts on “In Honour of My Father

  1. David Kratt

    Levi, your Dad sounded like a great guy. Reader your blog piece reminded me of my Dad, much missed too! Thanks for writing it

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  2. George Jose

    Hey bro, so sorry to hear about your dad, but totally great piece to honour him with. Thinking of you all at this time.

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  3. Ash

    Bro, it sucks that your dad is gone. But it is at times like this when I realise what a joy it must be to have Christian family. For we do not grieve as others do who have no hope. We grieve as those who will feel the loss terribly but know that your dad is only sleeping, awaiting the great day of resurrection. And you’ll see him then, made perfect and resplendent. The biggest honour you can do your father is to keep going, and finish the race so that he will see you again and rejoice. See you soon bro.

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    1. levibooth Post author

      Bro I just read this comment as I came on to upload a now post (I really need to get better at reading comments). Anywho, I totally agree, as you’ll see from my post!

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  4. Sharon liddle

    Your father was a wonderful man.
    He had many “sons” at grappenhall hall school where he worked for many years.
    He as my son says ” the only teacher that listened and cared”.
    My son thought very highly of him and I’m sure lots of other former pupils and remaining pupils will all have there stories of how he has helped them even out of school, because that’s how “boothy” was.
    He even took some boys to church while he was running errands, my son always questioned him about church and why he like it so much.
    He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
    He helped a lot of “boys” become wonderful young men and guiding them as best he could.
    We only seen joe a few weeks back and he was saying how proud he was of my son becoming a dad to be and his fishing taking off so well, it’s amazing what you have done for my son and I’m sure many others.
    RIP JOE BOOTH

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    1. levibooth Post author

      Thanks Sharon, it’s so great to hear about the impact my dad had at Grappenhall. It makes me so proud when I hear the stories of boys there and the way my dad served them so well.

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  5. Daniel

    Levi, I cannot help but smile at those pictures of your dad. Whenever we spoke or met he and I always used to have a joke for every occasion, although to be fair Joe always used to try very hard to remember one and if he couldn’t he would walk away and then suddenly rush back to tell me one he had just remembered!!! will always have fond memories of him. Dan

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