6/13/2008

Direction

If looking forward is looking north, then, to round out the metaphor, looking back would be looking south. What does that make looking in the present? Can we actually do that? I’m not sure we are ever in the present long enough to look at it. Within a blink it becomes the past and we have moved incrementally north. On Father’s Day I find myself very sensitive to this moving target. I tend to focus a lot of my time, energy and prayers north, dealing with my three almost-grown children and their slowly forming plans for the future, trying to encourage and help without getting in the way. (Which, by the way, is a ridiculously delicate balancing act.) Some days it is consuming, often to the point that it bothers me that I care and dwell and grind so hard about things that are, in the big picture, pretty much out of my control. (I am betting that the lack of control is the number one cause of the grinding. Just a guess.) Is this natural? Am I too involved? Am I wasting my time on things that are already in place and rocketing toward predetermined destinations? Long ago I made the resolution that my career goal was to release into the world (at the proper time) three humans that were ready to be positive, solid contributors in the world. Three adults who would be focused on others, aware of the mark they could potentially leave in their path and desire to make a difference. And above all, be tuned in to God’s direction in their lives—regardless of where it takes them. Maybe part of my angst is that this chapter is drawing to a close. I can see it and, more importantly, I can feel it. Where does all of this weird mix of love, concern, hope, desperation and pride come from?

Oh yeah. My dad.

It is a rather tired cliché that we become our parents. It is also a tired cliché to wave off a tired cliché as meaningless since the cliché became a cliché because it is grounded in the truth. As I experience the winding down of a pretty remarkable season in my life, I am more aware than ever of my dad. I see him a lot more in the mirror. I hear him more and more as I speak. The kids are labeling my jokes as “Paw Paw Jokes” with alarming regularity. I have gained greater clarity of what he meant when he told me things years ago. And how he reacted to things. And how he responded to things. He makes more sense. He has to, otherwise I would have no way to explain myself (or at least anticipate that one day I will be able to explain my actions of today). I am so thankful that I am dealing with a heritage based on love and empathy instead of the all too common legacy of aloofness and lack of emotion. And for that I thank him from the bottom of my conflicted, loving, sympathetic heart. With more and more frequency the kids are telling me, “Oh my gosh, that sounded just like Paw Paw!” I calmly respond that I could do a lot worse than end up being like my dad. After a thoughtful pause they always say, “You’re right.”

Happy Father’s Day to the north, south, east and west. Pass it on...

1 comment:

Krista said...

With a tear in my eye, I salute our dad too and my brothers the dads of amazing children.