In the aftermath of Lisa Marie Presley’s untimely time death at the age of 54 yesterday, news outlets featured various highlights and lowlights of her life, including an excerpt of an interview she did with Good Morning America in 2009.
“He’d always wake me up to sing in the middle of the night, get on the table and sing,” she told the popular ABC morning show, referring to her late father, Elvis Presley. “I remember him as my dad, but he was a very exciting dad.”
“Excitement” is in the eye of the beholder, and it comes in numerous forms. But the argument could be made that a young Lisa Marie didn’t need that type of commotion from her father. Instead, what she needed was a good example and his steady and consistent presence – none of which Elvis provided.
Elvis and Priscilla Presley divorced when Lisa Marie was four. Her father died of a heart attack, which doctors believe was instigated by drug use.
The only daughter of the pop icon would go on to struggle through a tragic life that included four marriages and four divorces, as well as the death of a son by suicide.
Celebrity can be fun and exciting, but it’s a bit like what many say of big cities – “Nice to visit, but wouldn’t want to live there.”
When I think of a steady and stable father, I think of my own late dad. He was happily married to my mother for 57 years. When he died, we found stacks of love letters between him and my mom from across the years. My dad was very predictable. He worked for the same company for 44 years. Because of the need to commute by train, he’d leave the house at 5:45 A.M. and return at 5:45 P.M. He and my mom made sure we never missed church on Sunday, always got us to Boy Scouts or our sporting events a few minutes early.
By the world’s standards, there was nothing “exciting” about my father. By tabloid standards, he was downright dull. He wore blue suits, white shirts and always tacked his tie. Haircut every three weeks. He shined his shoes in the basement on Saturday afternoon. The fanciest he got was wearing a pocket square in his front coat pocket, and a fedora with a feather. Weekend attire consisted of “dungarees” and a white t-shirt or “pep shirt” while working in his basement workshop, where he built furniture as a hobby.
When I think of my father, I think of our annual summer vacation to a rustic lake cabin in Maine, trips to the local community swimming pool, and a backyard cookout on the hibachi accompanied by sparklers on the Fourth of July.
And yet, as a boy, there was nobody more exciting than Jim Batura.
We’d wait eagerly for his arrival home each evening from the Long Island Railroad, rush to greet our dad at the door and then throw our arms around him. To this day, when I smell Old Spice, I’m taken back to those weekday evenings at 5:45 P.M.
It’s something of a curious thing that Jesus lived 33 years, and yet we really only know what He did for three of them. What did He do for the remaining three decades?
It’s safe to say that He did what most men of His era did – He worked and slept, ate, played, talked, and fellowshipped, and engaged his neighbors. It would seem like He lived a quiet life – until it wasn’t, and then He changed the world forever.
There is great worth in the day-to-day, in the seemingly mundane tasks and times when little of consequence seems to be happening. That’s because God is always at work, and He’s using you and me to help advance His Good News.
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