A Shout-Out to My Parents
Thank you for showing me what it means to have a heart of compassion and to give sacrificially to others, even when they don’t deserve kindness. Thank you for modeling what it means to pursue a relationship with God that is wholly authentic and never fake. Thank you for being real about the shortcomings of the Church, and not ever letting your children blindly think it’s all okay. You listen so well, and you hear with an ear that seeks empathy before judgment, understanding before condemnation. You have a beautiful way of smoothing rough edges when feelings are hurt, and pointing me back to what it really means to be a follower of Christ.
You don’t tell me what I want to hear, but rather exactly what I need to hear. Sometimes I’m pretty annoyed at you for doing that, but I almost always learn and grow because of what you say. You know exactly how to calm me when I’m feeling flustered and agitated and even angry, and that’s a such a marvelous blessing.
And you taught me to wrestle with my faith and be honest about the condition of my heart. You’re real about your feelings of distance from God, and if frustration is what you feel, it’s also what you express. But you’re equally real about the fact that you have, beyond a shadow of doubt, known His presence. And that gives me hope, if for no other reason than because I can live vicariously through you and know that God is here and real and walking in the midst of our daily lives, even when He feels a thousand miles away. Your testimony gives me courage.
So, for all of it, thank you. I love you.
Thank you standing firmly by your convictions. Even though it has led to heartache and misunderstandings, I know that I can always depend on you to be faithful to your belief in Jesus and the infallibility of the Bible. You are like a rock in the stream of life, and often I feel like a fish, floundering in the current and desperate to find my way. You taught me what it looks like to have a high esteem for Scripture, and treat it with the reverence it deserves. Your devotion to Scripture has a large role to play in the reasons why I always “return to the fold”, so to speak, every time I doubt God’s Word and wonder if it’s just a collection of fairy tales.
And the way you live your life and show love to others has kept me in check, and reminded me that even though we rarely see eye-to-eye theologically anymore, our theological beliefs should never get in the way of our ability to love. Yours never have, not once—at least not around me. Even when I’ve felt hurt by the times we talk about God, you always remind me at the end of our discussions that you love me. So thank you, for never letting your theology get in the way of demonstrating love for the people around you.
Thank you, too, for your wisdom and your courage. You never settle for the easy way out, but live out your life with a heart that is in pursuit of truth. You inspire me to search it out too, and not settle with doctrines just because they are held by church leaders. My path has been turning out to be different from yours, but I think it is the same truth-hungering spirit that guides us.
And more than anyone else I know, it is from you that I have learned that God is to be revered. That’s a pretty important lesson to learn, I’d say.
I love you, Dad.