It's Monday. Going down memory lane today. I will do better in the future (hopefully) to add related pictures to the posts.
A memory of my dad is one that I don't like to recall. It's one of those memories that was not pleasant. I don't know why it always haunted me, but it did. It caused me pain and I never really forgave him. But the truth is that he really didn't need forgiven and I didn't need to be hurt by the situation. Age and time do heal things and make pictures much more clear. This memory is from my childhood. I am not sure of my exact age but I can still see the situation vividly. I had to be younger than 10 but older than 7. I am the baby of the family and was the tag-a-long for the most part. My dad was enlisted in the Army and we were living in Ft. Polk, Louisiana. He and my mom had lots of friends in this little town. Most of them had children around the same age as my siblings. We often spent weekends in our little trailer park with our friends. We lived in a very small trailer park on a little traveled road that was perfect for walking and riding bikes. Small creeks and wooded areas were all along this road. It was a great place to grow up. One particular afternoon my dad was loading up our station wagon and going into town for ice cream treats for the kids. Everyone ran to the car and jumped in. When I realized what was going on, I also ran to get in. My heart was broken when my dad turned and said "there's not any room for you". He assured me that they would come back quickly and bring my treat to me. Oh the pain of rejection that flooded my soul that day. No room for me. It was heart breaking. I took that very personally and clung to that pain for many many years. But my dad did just what he promised. He brought me ice cream and candy. I didn't miss out on one thing other than the ride into town. But I did miss out on a lesson about sacrifice and selflessness for many years. At that age I didn't understand sacrifice. I only understood rejection. I am reminded of the greatest story of rejection. Mary and Joseph were rejected from a room for Jesus to be born. They faced their rejection with no bitter feelings. They accepted the situation that was at hand and fulfilled God's plan. They didn't miss out on God's will based on their selfish desires. They willingly accepted the animal trough as a bed for Jesus. The Bible does not say that they complained for years to come. They were thankful for what they were provided. I was not thankful for what was given to me. I was bitter for what I missed out on.
Through the years, I came to understand that my father was selfless. He was willing to give up personal and financial gain in order for others to be provided for. Yes, we as his family also sacrificed along the way. We may not have been afforded some of the same luxuries others were, but we were always provided for. Even when I was left behind, I received the same treat everyone else did. But I also received a lesson on sacrifice. See, my dad was loving on other children, giving to them, treating them with a simple ride to the local store for treats. They were thrilled. He was showing them the love of Jesus that he possessed. My dad did things like that his entire life. He would cut firewood for a widower lady (without accepting pay). He would bail out others financially time and time again. He would work long hours in less than perfect conditions in order to provide for his family. He would use his tractor to help others farm their fields. He would plant way more vegetables than he could use in order to give to others. He loved to help others. He was a kind and giving man. Those small things in life that I didn't understand when I was young, are the big things in life that made him who he was. How sad that I wasted time being hurt when I could have been proud. I was young when it originally happened. It is understandable to get your feelings hurt. But when I was old enough to see the bigger picture, I should have turned that hurt into a life lesson. Today I see a man used by God to love on others.
Mark 12:31 NKJ
31 "And the second, like it, is this: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
Seven other times in the Bible we are told to love our neighbor -- one of the Bible's most repeated commands.
What are you doing to show God's love to your neighbor? Love without actions is dead. I can't tell my dad that I am proud of him - but I can remember his love for others by telling you about him.
I would love to hear about some of your fondest memories. Share one here.
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