Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Father's Wisdom

This morning as we were sitting down to school for our first day back in a while, my Dad called to ask if he could stop over. This is not a usual occurrence at all. The perfectionist in me screamed, "But then we'll get behind!" The daughter in me (and all of my kids) was, like, "Yes!" My Dad is about to start his second retirement job and he was scouting out traffic. Traffic was being uncooperative - crazy public schoolers don't start back 'til tomorrow. So he brought my kids donuts.

Anyway, my Dad has come a long way. I value his journey because I am stuck where he was 30 years ago - angry, perfectionist, expecting the world of myself and my kids. Having been there, he understands. Heck, he helped make me who I am (which is not to say that I am not responsible for the way I am and behave today). Anyway, he reminded me today of words that he has told me before - words that are hard to believe at my age of 38, but words that have a completely different perspective at his age of 68. Very few things are really all that important. They are certainly not as important as we make them out to be at the moment. Health, of course, warrants the importance we give it. The broken window? Henry fixed it. The stained carpet? We don't notice it and no one comes over anyway (and if they do, they can cope). We'll replace it when we can. There are so many things about which I freak out and none of them matter a bit. Not really.

It's like I remind the kids all the time - this is not our destination. We were not made for this world. Our job is to live in it and grow through it so that we can, through the grace of God, spend eternity with him in heaven. Put in the perspective of eternity, so few things seem to matter at all! What matters? Making sure my children know who made them and why. Making sure they love God with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their mind, and with all their strength, and that they love their neighbors as themselves. By that metric I think I'm doing okay. I don't use my doctorate. I'm not known or recognized in my field. I'm not on anyone's "up and coming" list. As I frequently remind myself, though, my job - my only job - is to get my children to heaven. And I don't need perfection for that. For that I need to do what I've been doing. For the rest I need to listen to Dad and let go and let God.

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