Cultivator of Hope

Last night my “original family unit” had dinner together in preparation for my dad, the Lewster’s, surgery. It just so happened that no spouses or children came, so we had a nice time, reminiscent of similar dinners from my childhood–big jokes despite the circumstances, thin edge of sarcasm, and my dad striking up conversations with random people.

At one point in the evening, as my sister was furiously framing the perfect photograph, he began chatting with a couple at the table immediately next to us. The youngish fella at the table was handsome, well-built, and sporting a stylish blonde doo. My dad’s uncanny ability to extract much information out of a short conversation revealed that this guy had played football at one time for the Tennessee Vols.

A while later, my dad returned to their table to satisfy his itching curiosity of whether this table neighbor played professional football for the Tennessee Titans. In a self deprecating shrug, the guy more or less said “no” with a face that said a thousand words, “too old, too slow, not strong enough, and more of like.” Like spinach to Popeye, Lewster found his strength, “have you tried out? You should try out, you would be great…you only live once.” He knew nothing of his abilities; he had not seen any footage, but in a very genuine way, he encouraged this stranger like a friend, like a son. This is the dad that raised me.

He was the East Tennessee boy who wooed all of the girls in school; played all of the sports; he was the superstar. He went on to college and ascended the ranks of the football team to become the captain. A tall feat for a 5’10” left guard. In the army, he ascended the ranks his platoon to become the Superior Cadet as he travelled the world. In the FBI, he always sought to serve with his highest and best. Everything that he pursued he has always given his all. He brings his game.

By contrast, my brother and I didn’t play many sports, weren’t football players, didn’t go into the armed services, didn’t follow behind in the footsteps of the FBI, yet the Lewster was always proud and encouraged us (even in the impossible). He always subrogated his desires to our ambitions only gently redirecting where appropriate.

He is a farmer of hope. In fallow ground he plants the seeds of possibility–even in places where others assume drought. When I was about seven years old, the Lewster led a SWAT team to arrest a most wanted criminal. After the blue lights stopped and the guns were holstered, he spent significant time digging into the fugitive’s life and mining for hope over interrogating him.

All too often we look for hope to magically appear. We misplace goals for hope, like tactics for strategy. Hope is the fundamental belief that circumstances, no matter how dire, can change. It is the ability to look at some dirt and a little spec and see the significant harvest. Hope is not fleeting; it is a root that grows through one’s life, which built on strong foundation can weather a storm.

Lew Fran Floyd
As I chose the picture for this post, I really searched for something that represented the living roots that both my mom and dad bring to our family. This picture, taken recently, has all the wonderful blooms of the family.

It is unlikely that the fella at the restaurant called up his agent and scheduled a tryout for the Titans, but who knows the boost that he may have received from the fun Lewster encounter. The power of hope cultivated with the encouragement that someone believes in your abilities, can help you move mountains. My dad’s encouragement is magnetic. It is something that I aspire to emulate. It has led me in some of my darkest moments and most difficult decisions.


Jeremy Floyd

Jeremy Floyd is the Chief Marketing Officer at Back Porch Vista. Formerly, he was the president of Bluegill Creative, a marketing and communications firm in Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition to managing the digital strategies, Floyd is an adjunct professor for the University of Tennessee Chattanooga MBA program teaching digital strategies and social media. Floyd blogs at jeremyfloyd.com and tweets under the name @jfloyd. Jeremy is licensed to practice law in the State of Tennessee and holds a law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from MTSU in English and Philosophy.

  • Dawn Cooper

    J, And here I was thinking that Doug was the profound writer of the family. A beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. Thanks for sharing! Great picture. The Floyd Family rocks.

  • What a great read. Every new father should le made to read your story so they know what their responsibilities are.

    I don’t know, but certainly hope, my kids would say some similar about me.

    Steve

  • Dave Russell

    How beautiful it is when love breaks through the trivialities of life and bursts from the heart to the pen. Bless you and your family.

  • Penni Geber

    So true! All three of you have turned out so well! What a tribute to your wonderful parents! Your Dad is really a great guy! He lights up the room.

  • It’s a true blessing when children’s pride outshines their parents’pride for them.

    What a gift you have given not only your father but your son as well.

  • Anj

    AH!! Tis so true of the Lewster!

    I dare say a truer aim could scarcely be replicated. Aptly spoken and on target!

  • Good words Jeremy. Thanks for such a beautiful tribute to such a great man.

    Doug

  • If I didn’t have a similar kind of father, I would be getting in line to adopt yours for sure. Love it that the simple writing of love from a son, motivates more comments than the other stuff.

    I love this simple yet true message. There is nothing better than someone loving unconditionally and nothing more motivating that someone believing in you.

    And in spirit of your dad, I gotta say that I believe you are much like your good ‘ol dad Jeremy. LG and I speak often of how you are gonna be famous someday and we will be so glad to say that we were your friends back when you were first on the Hallerin show…he he

  • Eric

    Believe me when I say that this is a great post! Great writing moves the reader, and this really did. It makes me want to BE like your dad. The golden edifier.

    Thanks for posting this.

  • Wow! Thank you, Eric.

    I have received such wonderful encouragement from your comments. Thank you so much for your support and readership!

  • Would your dad think about adopting one more hard-working, clean-cut son? Never take for granted that you have a dad to be proud of. Based on this post, it’s obvious that you cherish him, Jeremy. Well done.

  • Pingback: Obituary for my Father, J. Lewis Floyd | Jeremy Floyd - Between You and Me()

  • Jeremy,

    You are a special person, no doubt. It is obvious you had a wonderful father and you have indeed honored him by writing such a tribute. I stand in awe and in pain for you (actually, I’m laying on the couch, but you catch my drift 😉 I look forward to seeing you again my friend.

    Jesse

  • In our heavenly fathers coin collection, our beloved brother Lou in “proof” quality.

  • Pingback: The Power of Words | Jeremy Floyd - Between You and Me()