Tag Archives: learning

When I Thought I Wasn’t Looking at You, Dad.

Father’s Day celebrations dominated my thoughts today. I felt called by God to consider my adoptive father. He was a good man, respected, and yet, for many reasons, he and I were not particularly close.

There is a beautiful poem available on the internet titled, “When you thought I wasn’t looking,” (author unknown).  When I think about my dad, I need to write a new version of that poem. It goes like this.

“When I Thought I Wasn’t Looking”

When I thought I wasn’t looking, Dad, I experienced you driving my sister and me into town for Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. You then returned to the farm, collected our mom, and returned for the 11:00 worship service. Dad, your commitment to Sunday worship as a family, is a strong part of my faith today.

When I thought I wasn’t looking, Dad, you wrote the cheque and put it in the offering envelope. It lay on the kitchen table every Saturday night, along with our Sunday School offering. Dad, your generosity to the church and its programs is the yardstick by which I measure my own.

When I thought I wasn’t looking, Dad, you planted a garden much too big for our family. You tended it lovingly. At harvest time, you took so much pleasure in eating the tasty vegetables, and just as much in giving them away. Every time I make a salad, I see you with a huge bowl of lettuce sprinkled with salt and vinegar. Dad, your love for your garden has shown me the wonder of God’s beautiful world. A tiny, spindly blueberry plant, baking in the hot sun, produces a whole handful of luscious berries. I take nothing for granted.

When I thought I wasn’t looking at you, Dad, someone crept into your garden and stole your entire crop of cantaloupe melons. I remember the tears in your eyes when you said, “If they’d only asked, I’d have gladly given them all they needed.” I learned from you, Dad, the pain that comes when we steal, lie, or deceive.

These are but a few of the things I learned from my Dad. We learn even when we think we are not conscious of what is happening. On this Father’s Day, I encourage you to go back through your memories. Regardless of who your father is, whether the world identifies him as good or not, there will be things you learned that have been helpful in your life. Give thanks for those things.

Even if you don’t know who your father is, you can give thanks that his DNA is part of you. Fathers, like mothers, have given us life.

When I thought I wasn’t looking, my dad taught me lots.

 

 

 

Do you recognize the joy?

Years ago, on my first day at work in Dunsford United Church, Linda, the board chair handed me a list of eight names. “These people need visiting” she said. “See Jean first. Her husband died last year and she’s having rough time. You’ll like Jean. She’s a sweetheart.”

Starting in a new place is always difficult. I was grateful for the list. Pastoral care is such an important part of a minister’s work. About three that afternoon, I set down my pen and gathered up my purse. The sermon for Sunday is started, I thought. I’ll go see Jean now.

Jean lived just up the road from the church. When I rang the doorbell, a beautiful white haired woman in her early eighties greeted me with a big smile. “Come in. Come in.” she said. “I’m so glad to see you. To think that you’ve started with me. What a privilege.” With that, a precious friendship began.

Even though caregiving for the church or as a neighbour requires time and patience , it also can be a source of abundant learning and joy. Over my five years serving Dunsford United Church, and caring for Jean, she taught me an important lesson.

Every day, Jean misses Lawrence, her friend and lover of more than sixty years, and yet she is always ready to share her life with others. She believed that when grief threatens to consume you, turn your heart and mind to someone else who needs you. As you focus on giving to another, you will discover that healing has begun for you. Jean lived that wisdom.

Yes, I cared for Jean, and Jean cared for me. Her love and support carried me in my rough times. She has taught me to recognize the Joy and the Learning that comes when we step outside of ourselves.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)