My parents gave me incredible gifts in my youth. I am finally aware of the meaning in those old conversations. They tried to tell me, even as I wouldn’t listen. They wanted to pass of the lessons of their lives, even as I knew better. As I listen to the replays I find myself finally getting most of their message; treasures still remain. I find myself trying to give the same gifts to Carli and Whitney. My attempt is at the heart of what it means to be a parent, friend, and fellow traveler.
My top three gift-lessons include the following.
1. The very things we think will bring us happiness will most likely not. In time, “like a hungry man dreaming he's eating steak and wakes up hungry as ever, like a thirsty woman dreaming she's drinking iced tea and wakes up thirsty as ever, so that mob of nations at war against Mount Zion will wake up and find they haven't shot an arrow, haven't killed a single soul.” (Isaiah 29.8) By then biggest openings in life will have passed.
2. Life is for living. This is a serious pursuit requiring our full attention. Being casual isn’t an option – if you are then life will be decided for you. Seriously being attentive to living means playing, working, and being in relationship in ways that are fun, sustainable, and on the edge! Great things are possible, yet they require one’s full attention.
3. Whatever is most important in life is the god/God of our soul. We may think we are agnostic but we never are. We may think we are atheist, yet we believe in something – if only our self.
My parents wanted me to think, engage, and understand the god/God of my life. The encouraged me to swim – far, fast, and in great waters. In hindsight I am stunned by their courage, awed by their willingness to trust, and humbled by their patience. I hope and pray I can give these to the family and friends in my life – they are gifts from God.
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