My dad loves me very much, and I have known it as long as I have known anything. But like most fathers, he works full-time, and I didn’t spend nearly as much time with him when I was young as I did with my mother. But my dad did many things to make sure that his children knew that he cared about them. I have always admired him, and whether consciously or not, he has always set a good example for us. We knew that he loved us and that he loved the Lord.
One way that he showed his love is particularly special. At the beginning of each school year, at the request of the schools, my parents would meet with my teacher to talk about me and the coming term. Every year during these visits, my dad would find out from the teacher where my desk was. He would then take a few of his business cards and carefully hide them throughout my school supplies, where I would be sure to find them.
Every year it was a surprise, since I would forget about the cards from the year before. After I found the first one, it would become a game to search for the others. The best part about these little treasures was that my dad had personalized each one. On the back of every card was a message from him—things like “Have a good day, Justin. Love, Dad” or “I pray for you every day. Love, Dad.” My favorite was a simple and perfect “I love you, Justin. Love, Dad.”
As I moved to higher grades, my dad always found ways to plant these love notes. I often found them in my locker or in my sports bags. Last year when I left for college, I had forgotten about the special business cards just as I had every year before. When I got to my dorm room and began to unpack one of my boxes, a little white card slipped out from between my things and fluttered to the ground. My dad’s business cards continued to surface throughout my first few weeks of college, offering inspiration and advice.
There was one time when I found a card that proved to be particularly meaningful for me. I was having a very difficult time and had been praying for help quite a bit. It was during this time that I found a card from my dad. The card read, “We’re praying for you, Justin. Keep up the good work. Love, Dad.” It gave me a taste of home that I missed, and the encouragement from my dad helped me to keep working hard.
As I thought about how grateful I was to my dad, I realized that my Father in Heaven had also had a hand in sending me this message. It had come at the perfect time, when I needed it most. I was then reminded of the talk by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from the April 2005 general conference about the tender mercies of the Lord and how God leaves us little reminders throughout our lives to tell us that He loves us (see “The Tender Mercies of the Lord,” Ensign, May 2005, 99). These “business cards” from Him brighten our smiles and strengthen our faith.
I have since left home again to serve a mission for the Lord. As I unpacked my bags in the Missionary Training Center and in my first area, I once again found small cards from my dad. I also continue to experience the tender mercies of the Lord every day as I preach His gospel.
I am so grateful for the fathers I have. I love them very much, and I know that they love me.
Illustration by Dilleen Marsh