Lessons from Dad.

Posted: November 28, 2014 in brain belches

November 28, 2000, my dad, Delano Lang, went to heaven. He had a massive heart attack and was unconscious for eight days. We surrounded his bedside, and we prayed and hoped and remembered and cried and laughed. I remember it like it was yesterday.

When the end (actually, it was the beginning) came, we gained a clear, undeniable glimpse into the unseen world. We were all standing there, and it was obvious when Dad left the building. We could sense the very second he passed. No doctor had to tell us. One second he was there; the next he was gone. He vacated his earthly dwelling to move to a much better neighborhood.

We let him go. During the preceding eight days, we had learned what real trust in an unseen God is. We learned that if we really believed what we had professed for years, we would let Dad go. Besides, it wasn’t goodbye—it was just see you later.”
And as we said “See you later,” we felt a strong, tangible sense of the holy in that hospital room. We joined hands and sang “God Is Good All the Time” because He is. I’ve never been more sure of the fact that this life isn’t all there is than at that moment.

My dad was no mere mortal. He was John Wayne and Superman all rolled into one big, hairy package. When I was a kid, I was sure Dad was invincible. Even when I was older, I felt completely safe whenever he was around. I found out later he wasn’t invincible. But in my mind he’ll always be the strongest, smartest, toughest man I’ll ever meet.

I remember so much about Dad. I remember his laugh, the way he wore his hat, and the way he smelled. I remember his bushy eyebrows that by looking angry could paralyze me with fear. I remember his hands covered in calluses from hard work. For years I was sure that my true first name was “BOY”, because that is what Dad called me.

I remember the lessons he tried to teach me that never stuck, like how to work on cars or how to be a handyman. I never really caught either of those.

But I also remember all of the things he taught me that did stick. He taught me how to be a man. Without ever claiming to be a leader, he taught me more about leadership than anyone else. He taught me what integrity, respect, work ethic, and honor are all about.

Dad was a man of few words. As I was growing up, it seemed like he communicated mainly through grunts. A happy grunt meant he was pleased; an unhappy grunt meant someone was in big trouble. Most of what he taught me was through his example and not his words. He modeled life for me, and some of the time, I caught it.

As I reflected on the mostly nonverbal instruction my father gave me, I realized some other life lessons he taught me:

Get your priorities right: God first, your family second, your friends third, and yourself fourth.

Authentic faith isn’t just something you talk about. It’s something that affects every area of your life.

Work hard, play hard, and take a nap every once in a while.

Be the first to leave the party—it leaves people wanting more.

True wealth has nothing to do with material possessions or bank accounts. It has to do with what you deposit in the lives of those around you.

Real friends stick with you through the tough times. Remember to return the favor.

There’s always plenty of blame to pass around; but don’t do it—take responsibility.

Look people in the eye and tell the truth.

The right thing and the hardest thing are usually the same thing.

Live every moment to the fullest. There’s something much worse than dying—not living.

Don’t play favorites—treat everyone the same.

A life lived for others is never in vain.

There is never a bad time for breakfast.

It’s better to fail than to quit.

If you tell people the truth the first time, you won’t have to apologize or backtrack later.

Appreciate and enjoy simple things.

Live with repentance instead of regret so you can die with faith instead of fear.

Live in such a way that you leave a mark.

Appreciate nature.

Everything’s better with gravy on it.

Read just for fun.

Honesty is more important than perfection.

Plain white T’s, baseball caps, and pearl-snap shirts never go out of style. (Okay, maybe they do, but who cares?)

Laugh often.

Live for something bigger than yourself.

Thanks, Dad. I miss you, but I’ll see you soon.


  1. Marilyn Lang says:

    Thank you for posting this, your dad would was all those things & I’ll always miss him but like you said it’s not goodbye it’s see you later 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s