Monday, June 18, 2012

ABBA, Father, Dad, Daddy

Having just participated in yet another “Hallmark-inspired holiday” I am reminded how fortunate I am that God gave to me the parents that He did.  In all of the male and female homo sapien combinations that have come together, I was blessed beyond measure to receive the best parents ever.  (You can’t argue with me; this is My Blog and my opinion!)

Like millions of others, I phoned my Dad and wished him a “Happy Father’s Day!”  I told him that I love him and am thankful for all he has done for me.  I, too, was the recipient of such affection from my two sons.  A Dad couldn’t be prouder of his offspring than I am of mine!  (Again, My Blog, my opinion!)

I love my Dad.  He was a good provider and mostly a good example of life, love and consistency.  My relationship with him is such that I call him the affectionate “Daddy” and “Dad” with enthusiasm.  No formal “Father” for me.  In fact, he would probably stumble wondering who it was calling him that!  Daddy taught me a lot.  He probably won’t admit it, but he did!  To borrow inspiration from an article I read in Sunday’s paper, here are a few things my Dad taught me:
  • Dad taught me how to tie a tie—a full Windsor knot.  A classy dresser, he always knew how to dress up.
  • Speaking of dressing up, he taught me how to shine my shoes.  (Which I don’t do quite as often as I should!)  Saturday night I pulled out the shoeshine kit and did a number on several pairs of shoes and strolled down memory lane of many Saturday nights on Shell Road shining shoes and watching “Lawrence Welk.”
  • He taught me that a well-manicured yard communicated that you cared—for your surroundings, your neighbors and the world.
  • Dad took care of his cars so that they would take care of him.  A well-maintained auto drives many more miles than one not so well-maintained.
  • A clean car even rides better.
  • It is better to give than to receive.  Dad was invested in his community.  The fire department and rescue services in my hometown are a result of his, and others like him, desire to help his neighbors in time of crisis.
  • Church attendance, active participation and mostly being a follower of Christ is paramount to getting through this life and ready for the next.
  • Consistent, persistent unwavering love for wife and family is important enough that nothing should stand in its way.  Thank you, Daddy, for loving Momma, Cheryl, me, your grandkids, brother, sister, parents, in-laws, cousins, etc., etc. in such a wonderful way!

I don’t feel pressure by the greeting card industry to share my affection for my father.  Although we live miles apart, we speak regularly on the phone “just to hear” each other’s voices.  We don’t wait until the annual opportunity to send a card to say “I love you.”  We say it often each time we talk.  He always insists that I share “his love with the family.”  To which they know Papaw means what he says!

I love you, Dad!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Feasting on Elephants

Having started out on many journeys I have learned that if I kept thinking about how long it will be, it will not be fun at all.  Whether it is a long drive across many states, or a hike up the nearest mountain trail, to begin is an arduous task unto itself. 

Yes, before the ignition is started or the first step taken one must know what the final destination is.  This is paramount to set the course.  My mantra on a “journey” is becoming “one step at a time.”  Or as one wise sage once queried, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”

I went for a walk the other day around our neighborhood.  The path I chose was one I had done several times before.  I began down a slight decline of the street we live on, then a slight incline followed by another longer decline.  Oh, this is easy, I thought.  Then, I reached the bottom and remembered, I live at the pinnacle of this “mountain” and I will have to get back up there!

Like I said, I’ve done this path before and the climb was not a memorable one.  I recalled the strenuous steps it required and the conscientious sucking for oxygen.  I looked up and thought I would never make it back to the top.

This time instead of looking ahead at the “out of reach” goal, I began to look to my right and to my left observing the woods and the creek below.  As I took the steps up the path, I watched birds, squirrels and rabbits going about their routines.  A neighbor drove by and we both raised a hand in greeting.  Before I knew it I had once again returned to the pinnacle.  Oh, I was still sucking for air, but the journey became more than getting from point “a” to point “B.” (Capitalization intended for emphasis of the climb!)

Too many times in my going about “living” I have missed “life” as it has gone by.  Is it my age?  Is it my new surroundings?  Or the paradigm shift I am experiencing?  Regardless, I am living into the “stopping and smelling the roses” right now.  This is hard, very hard, for a task-oriented person.  It is hard to justify checking off the to-do list “enjoying life.”  It may not generate income or impact my little world, but it is helping me to experience God’s creation in a new and refreshing way.

The elephant will still be eaten, and since I can’t swallow it whole, I might as well savor each morsel of the feast…one bite at a time.