I really miss my Dad today. He has always been the wise one ~ the one who could calmly look at a situation from the best perspective and know what to do. So many times I’d face an injustice in my youth and want to charge straight ahead to right the wrong. But impatience and passion are poor substitutes for wisdom. Dad would always advise me to wait it out. Lay low. Let the air clear instead of flying off the handle. Sometimes I listened. Sometimes I didn’t. The older I got, the more I realized just how valuable his advice was.
So today when faced with a difficult situation, I found myself wanting to just ask him what to do. I can still do that, but I never know what I’m going to get. He may not understand my question. He may not know how to verbalize his thoughts. Or he could just open his mouth and give me counsel so sound that Solomon would approve.
When I was a child, my Father worked for a telecommunications company where an employee disliked him and was trying to get my Father fired. As the sole provider for his wife and three daughters, that’s an extraordinary amount of pressure for any man to endure. I’m sure he racked his brain, wondering what to do. Do I confront this coworker? Do I appeal to my boss? What do I do? He probably asked my grandfather for advice.
My Father said nothing and just prayed. And prayed and prayed and prayed. There were nights he couldn’t sleep and he’d get out of bed, lie down on the living room floor and just ask God for guidance and protection.
His proved to be the wisest response. God not only preserved my Father’s job, but the troublemaker who had it in for my Dad lost his.
Whenever I hear wisdom like that, it makes me want to just fold it up and store it away deep inside me. Like a library of sound counsel that I can quickly access whenever needed. Each piece of wisdom is like a valuable gem and I want to be a gem collector.
Dad would always tell me, you don’t miss your water till your well runs dry. And he’s right. You don’t miss what’s right in front of you until it’s gone. And right now I’m missing his wisdom. Terribly.
So what do I do with this sorrow? This longing to hear my Father speak into my life? Do I resign myself to the fact that sorrow is just part of life?
Yes, life is full of sorrow. But this sorrow is too much for me to carry. It was never meant for my shoulders. It was never meant for anyone’s shoulders. So the only thing for me to do is give it to my Heavenly Father. And when I release it to Him, the burden is lifted and I can focus on the gift I’ve been given.
I will celebrate the wisdom God gave my Father and that he passed on to me. I will be grateful for the lessons I learned simply by watching his life, knowing I am extremely blessed since not everyone has this. And I will remember the things my Father taught me. About being still and not charging into a situation. About listening to everyone’s side of the story before forming an opinion. About keeping my nose out of other people’s affairs. About how the best response to a mocker is silence.
And about swallowing my pride, accepting a rebuke and learning from it, rather than dismissing it and cheating myself out of a valuable lesson.
And I will always remember one thing his father taught him that my Father still says to me.
“Your name goes further than you do.”
His certainly has.