Last week I did something stupid – not sinful, just stupid. A dumb mistake that is going to cost money and is embarrassing. Surprisingly it hit me really hard. My mind spun out of control, and darkness overtook me. I lost control of my emotions and went to the scary places of my mind I never want to visit.
It honestly surprised me that I went so dark so fast. My wife tried to console me, but nothing seemed to work. The next morning, after a night of replaying my stupid behavior, I found myself still in a funk. Then I started scrolling through Facebook quickly before I started the day. There I found another preacher had made a post about his father that he had lost a few years ago, at that moment the dam burst. The tears flowed, and pain swept through me that I haven’t felt in a couple of years. Suddenly I knew what was wrong with me. I needed to talk to dad.
My dad was far from perfect, but he stood beside me through a lot of boneheaded mistakes. He was there when I wrecked his truck, when I considered dropping out of college, when I wasted money and when I did all those things that young men do. He would listen to my story of stupid behavior. He would ask a few questions, get mad, and offer some advice that I would probably not take. Then he would try to make everything alright. He would offer to pay for stuff, tell me a story about his failure, and how he had no one to bail him out, so he was glad to help me. I would deny the money, tell him I was an adult and that I appreciate his support. Before I left, he would slip a $100 bill in my pocket and say something about giving me more when I needed it. Somehow through this dance of frustration, advice, and money, I would know that everything would alright. He was in my corner, and the story was over. Life moved on, and rarely did I ever hear him mention my mistakes. Dad somehow made things better.
This is my biggest mistake since he has been gone, and somehow without him, I am having a hard time finding a resolution. My wife has been great, and my kids are supportive, but I really want to talk to dad.
I tell you all this for one simple reason. Thanksgiving is this week, and some of you still have your father. I ask you to hug him, tell him you love him and listen to his unfunny stories once more with a sense of wonder. One day he will be gone, and you will grab the phone to call when you have made a fool of yourself, and there will be no one to call.
For you, maybe it is not dad, possibly it is mom. It could be grandpa or grandma or some older family member who stands behind you. It might not even be a relative; perhaps it is just an older friend. Whoever it is, I pray that you would thank God for them this week. Also, let them know how much they mean to you before it is too late.
As parents, we often think about how fast our kids grow up, but as kids, we also need to remember how quickly our parents can be gone. Treasure every moment you have with them, even when it comes on the heels of one of the dumbest mistakes of your life; perhaps, especially then.