In my distant youth there were several defining moments. One turning point came in a moment of frustration. For a change, the frustration was not with me. My dad was increasingly frustrating with me. While I cannot remember when or where, it all boiled over in a conversation that was bluntly short.
“If you are going to talk about ______ (fill in any subject you want, he did pick one), then talk from a point of knowledge. If you think a religion is good, then experience it. If you think you believe in something, put it into practice. No more speaking from opinion. Be more than that.”
His words surfaced in my mind as background to a conversation with colleagues. One was expressing his view on a business issue. As I caught myself reacting with annoyance to what I saw as naïve and uninformed, I saw a shadow in the mirror and heard my father’s words.
It is not easy to give others space to grow. I see my Dad’s observation and advice then as a priceless gift. I realize now that he was echoing words that have been with us across many generations. Paul said that “if any one of you thinks God has something for you to say or has inspired you to do something, pay close attention to what I have written.” (1 Corinthians 14.37) Even 20 centuries ago, the idea of reading, reflecting, and being experientially informed was a good idea.
In the quietness of the morning’s light, it is safe to admit that there are times when I need to listen to my dad. His decade’s old words of wisdom are still valid. I would do well to embrace them with more consistency. They are useful reminders that touch all aspects of living.
Today will bring challenges, chaos, and choice. In the mix will be opportunities to learn and grow. You and I have an opportunity to do something with each. Wisdom is willing to work with us. We have the ability to use what is here to make a difference.