As his eldest son, it has been a journey of watching a man that never had an easy road, far from it. My Dad was raised by a dirt poor farmer, who raised eleven children where work began early and lasted until late.
Dad inspired me first with his commitment to our country. He dropped out of school in the tenth grade and joined the Army, where He served as a nurse on a ship bringing our heroes home from WWII.
Dad Inspired me to never back down, their size and intimidation’s were never something to bow before. When the neighbor gave his boys grief over a ball coming into their yard and them ‘trampling down the grass’ to retrieve it, Dad invited the man, six foot tall, his son, six foot two inches tall and his wife to the street and offered to whip them all. He expected the same from his sons.
Dad inspired me to never be a man who lived the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ life. Realizing he had two sons (my sister is 20 years younger than I) watching their Dad, he laid down his Camel cigarettes, after smoking for over 30 years. There was no patch, no aid, just sheer drive to be a man that lived the life he wanted for his boys as an example.
Dad inspired me to never sacrifice your dream because you were not equipped or gifted, you work harder and longer to achieve. Dad felt the call to the ministry, worked to get his GED, enrolled in Bible college and worked until he received the Bachelor Degree and went on to come just a few hours short of a Master’s Degree.
Dad inspired me to never stay down when you are knocked down. He never sat us down and taught us this principle of life, he lived it. I witnessed him suffer so many defeats but never be defeated. His dream, His purpose, His calling was bigger than any fall he ever had, therefore, it was just a short time and Dad was rolling again.
Dad inspired me with love in action. He never reduced ‘love’ to a word, he lived it. As children, we were never told we were loved but we never doubted he loved us. He showed us by working to buy the necessities and make sure we had the things we needed and more of what we wanted than we should have had at times.
Dad inspired risk in our lives. Again, there was never a sermon around the table or a ‘teaching moment’, there was just many times Dad lived it. My first memory of Dad risking for others came on a night the oil refinery caught fire where he worked. The small town was in danger of literally blowing up if the valves were not cut off to the fire. Dad being small was nominated to crawl on his belly across hot oil lines with electrical lines popping above his back to the valves. I remember being told, ‘your Dad risk it all to save the city’, yet there was no medal for bravery, He was simply doing his job.
On this day, a man not so muscular any more, a bit frail in the flesh, inspired his sixty-six year old son one more time. I watched as this Mighty Man was told the devastating news, ‘you have the widow maker heart condition’. It was my place to tell him, we looked each other in the eye, no hiding, no joking, just two men facing bad news. When the news was complete, he winched a bit with his mouth, raised an eye brow and said, ‘Well, not what I wanted to hear but I chose no surgery, I will take the path of medicine and follow what the doctor tells me to do.... I chose to believe that my best days are ahead of me, no matter how many or few’.
That is a Mighty Man.... That is my Dad, Lloyd Burd