Today you turn 72 years old. I’m trying to number the days, add up the memories and formulate the sum that has brought us to this birthday, but no matter what the calendar says, there hasn’t been enough memories, hugs, or conversations to justify all of these days I’ve had with you. This year I’ve realized with acute awareness that no time with you here on earth will ever be enough.
When I married Keith, I chose to have your name remain with me. I wear my name, Tiffany Reed Briley with so much pride. You may not have known who your father was, or the legacy behind the name you carry, but I can tell you that carrying your name and with it your legacy as a man and as a minister is hallowed to me.
You are the one who was called by God to leave his hometown, friends and family to follow Him into an unknown land. Not many people do that anymore.
You are the man who has served people, given to them, counseled them and loved them even when you were tired and needed those things yourself.
You carried your calling with obedience, consistency, and perseverance. Even now, I’m only beginning to understand how hard it is to carry on in a calling when everything around you is silent.
You’ve lead your family and exemplified everything a father should be and more importantly I see traces of God as a heavenly Father through and because of you.
It’s not uncommon for women to think their dad hung the moon, but for me you’ve done that and so much more.
Every conversation where you’ve guided, encouraged me, and directed my path has brought me to this place where my feet now stand.
I carry with me sacred moments that are almost too precious to utter. Kneeling in front of you with your hand to my head as I cry on your knee, is a sacred space where heaviness that is cloaked in holiness descends and I can faintly hear sounds and murmurs from the holy. There’s a stillness in those moments where a heavenly realm invades the physical around me and your human reassuring touch to my head blurs with a weighted hand of God.
You are absolutely one of the most important people in my life and there isn’t a moment with you that I’m not treasuring, holding tight to, and savoring. Here’s to many many more birthdays where I get to celebrate with you and brag on you.
Happy Birthday, Dad.