Words of Healing “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” – Jesus (Matt 24:35).

1Jan/020

Legacy of a Quiet Man

As it is with everyone, I cannot even begin to express the impact that my parents have had on my life, especially since I would not even exist except for their love for one another.  That alone would be enough for my eternal gratitude, for I have been given the opportunity to live, to experience joy and grief, to love and to lose, and to explore the mysteries of life in all their wonder.  Beyond that, however, my parents have also been shining examples of the kind of person I want to be, the kind of marriage I want to have, and the kind of parent I hope to become.  They have passed to me a legacy, not of material wealth, but of emotional and spiritual health, a legacy that I, in turn, will pass to my children.

Throughout my childhood, my parents modeled how to love, how to cry, how to grieve, and how to deal with the things in life that we cannot control.  Although I’m only 24, I have already had the opportunity to practice the lessons I have learned, for I have already had much grief and have wrestled with things I could not control.  I battled with bouts of depression as a child and teenager, and when I was eighteen, I lost an engagement.  The loss of the engagement is a truth I still face daily, for I had promised the rest of my life to a woman and she had promised the rest of hers to me; neither of us died, but she is not here.  I did not lose only her, but a part of myself also.  I lost our dreams of the future, the children and grandchildren we could have had, and the love we could have shared.  However, all of this, my life, my grief, is part of the grand scheme, the adventure of life, and I will not be held back by what might have been.  This life is filled with pain, for me and everyone else, but my perspective, though it may be clouded with pain, is one of hope.

Hope is a gift my parents gave me, by teaching me never to give up no matter what life may throw my way, and it is only one of many gifts.  My parents have given me the gift of love as well, unconditional and complete.  They have given me the gift of confidence, always encouraging me to be all that I can be.  They have given me the gift of forgiveness, by never holding the past against me.  They have given me the gift of repentance, by never being afraid to admit their own mistakes.  They have given me the gift of discipline, by teaching me the difference between right and wrong.  Most of all, however, one of the greatest gifts I have received is from my dad.

My dad is a quiet man.  He speaks when spoken to, he does not offer advice without caution, and his opinion can be hard to find.  I often thought that my dad’s silence meant that he had nothing to say.  However, I have found that some men, my dad included, are quiet, not because they have nothing to offer, but because of wisdom.  As Solomon put it:  “A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.  Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue” (New International Version, Prov. 17.27-28).  So, as it is with wise men, they may not often speak, but when they do speak, it is wise to listen:

I was four or five years old.  My dad and I were talking, and I remember that he said something strange to me.  He said, “I’m your dad, but I’m not your Father.  God is your Father.  I’ve been given the opportunity and responsibility to raise you, to love you, and to teach you to become a man, but you don’t belong to me—-you belong to God.  Sometimes, I will let you down, but God, He will never let you down.”  It was such a strange thing to say to a four or five year old boy.  I didn’t quite understand it, and perhaps that is why it imprinted upon my memory.

It has been 20 years since my dad made that statement, and now that I’m a little older and a little wiser, I think I understand.  My dad is a man like me—-wounded by the pains of life.  No matter how hard he tried, he never would have been able to meet all of my needs because he is just a man with needs of his own, and he also had a dad who was unable to meet all of his needs.  Knowing his own inabilities, my dad did the best thing that he could do by introducing me to the only one that could meet all of my needs, my Father.

Someday, I will likely be a dad myself, and I know that I will be far from perfect.  No matter how hard I try, I will never be able to meet all of my children’s needs, for I am just a man.  However, I will pass to them the legacy that my dad has passed to me.  I will introduce them to the One that will never let them down and will stay with them through the grand scheme that we call life.  I will pass to my children the legacy of my Father, who is also a “quiet man.”


Works Cited

The Holy Bible:  New International Version. Nashville, Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995.

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