Wisdom, strength, and what?
It’s hard to believe the mid-point of 2020 is fast approaching. Without a doubt, people from all walks of life will one day say this was one of those historical years that will live on in our memories for decades to come—Maybe primarily in nightmare-ish ways, but indeed, lessons learned from a worldwide pandemic, political battlegrounds, and social atrocities will live on to haunt us. Life has a way of shaping and shaking us up in profound ways. I hope to seek answers to perplexing questions asked about life and death and forevermore. Finding wisdom and strength in the love of the father? Perhaps now more than ever, it’s true treasure.
She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.Proverbs 3:15 ESV (regarding wisdom)
A good, good father
With Father’s Day right around the corner, I’m reminded of how my dad held mother’s hand while our family walked to the park. His ear-to-ear smile proved he was right where he wanted to be. Her high heel sandals clanked against the sidewalk, alarming hungry pigeons and crows. My parents gave my sister and me the freedom to trek ahead. Although we always remained within his site, I acted like a brave explorer. Every evening, after storytime, dad and mom kneeled beside my sister and my bedside. They began and ended their prayers with words of thanks sandwiched between genuine requests for safety, health, provision, and occasionally, dad slipped in a request for oatmeal cookies. My mother would nudge him and give a wide-eyed glare, which always led to lots of muffled girlie giggles.
While I believed my father could conquer any monster that came our way, it never occurred to me that he must have privately prayed for strength to protect us after he’d lock our apartment door at night or before he zipped our tent in the Catskill mountains—and definitely, before he dared to let the invisible sandman he told us stories about sprinkle happy dream dust over his eyes too. Yeah. That’s the kind of guy he was.
With all his heart
We’ll celebrate my husband, Dennis’s blankety-blank birthday this weekend. At times, I stare at him from across a room. The transformation is amazing. He’s regained muscle mass, strength, and enthusiasm to enjoy life again. It’s hard to fathom. We almost lost him a few months ago. The heart attack he suffered—I mean, WE suffered—could have—should have, killed him. Instead, God chose to baffle several doctors and blow the minds of everyone who witnessed the event. https://inspireafire.com/with-all-his-heart/
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength.Isaiah 40:29
The wise one within
Although less often, the trauma still brings tears and anxiety. This usually happens when I look in the mirror and yell at the haggard old maid who has the audacity to stare back at me. She usually doesn’t answer, but sometimes she shoots me a cocky smile. Today, her tired eyes let me know she heard me tell Dennis he was lucky to lose thirty pounds while in the hospital for a month—especially since I can’t lose thirty ounces…and how I thanked him for all the stress that gave me a hundred streaks of gray hair. Ugh. Evidently, she heard everything I said.
The ugly wise one in the mirror proceeded to remind me of the days when he lay unconscious: Don’t grow weary, girl. Hang in there. Remember...
I closed my eyes and saw him hooked to an Impella heart pump. With a million tubes and needles everywhere, I didn’t dare to move. I had lifted one end of his blanket so I could massage his feet. Considering I always joked they were creepy Captian Hook-ish claws, to say this was odd for me, is an understatement. Everyone had gone home. Dim lights and soothing instrumentals helped me relish the few moments of quiet between beeping monitor sounds. It felt good to finally breathe and cry alone. And then, he wiggled his toes. He looked at me with a crooked smile. “I always knew you liked my feet. I think you should rub them once a week.”
Yep. True story.
I told myself not to cry while I wrote sections of this entry. Of course, I didn’t listen. I balled, stopped writing, cried again. Then, I smiled. Even though thoughts of my father, husband, uncles, and sons pointed to the love of the heavenly father, God—and his Son, Jesus. I’m thankful He gives us wow moments that override tragedies or devastating events that threaten to steal, kill, or destroy our life stories. All these things can strengthen us and be examples of how all things work for the good of those who love God. Let’s hold on to that truth…
I want to focus on mountain hikes, family barbeques, and memorable vacations. After all is said and done, picnics in the park have a way of staying with us long after we’ve nibbled the last piece of Swiss or watched our boys spit the last watermelon seed at a sibling on the other side of the blanket.
The Extraordinarily ordinary and all that jazz
Dad and mom lived the faith I have today. They loved the outdoors and looked for joy above family trials or heartaches they endured. They chose to breathe deep and share the truth of that breath with their children: We can endure all things in the strength of our father’s love. Over the years, that faith led me to believe in God’s unwavering promises. Life is an everlasting gift—But, the magnitude of the gift? Whoa.
My father’s hands were rough and calloused. I’d often see my mother pour tiny puddles of olive oil over his palms or smear cocoa butter around his fingers and cuticles. Unsightly as they were, she tended to them as one might manicure a magnificent garden. She’d said, “Your father’s hands are strong enough to fight off a bear—if need be, yet every time he touches my arm, or kisses the boo-boos on your sister’s finger or your knee, I’m reminded, they’re gentle too.”
Imagine tomorrow to be better than today
Over the years, I’ve tried to imagine our Heavenly Father’s hands. Knowing there will never be an accurate earthly comparison, I envision mountain peaks, huge oak trees with twisted branches, or tremendous waves jutting out from the sea.
In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.Job 12:7-8,10
Happy Father’s Day
Without a doubt, people will rant about 2020 for ages to come. We’re witnessing the good, bad, and the horribly ugly. Maybe that’s why I hope to live deliberately; focus on the things that are everlasting. As Father’s Day draws near, I’m reminded to never forget my dad’s stories. https://inspireafire.com/a-little-girls-dad/
He had a way of embellishing dull classic or historic tales by adding his own subtle twists. I guess it’s time for my sons to take on the storyteller gift he left behind. I’m thankful he and mom’s love for their family continues to inspire me. And now, I’m blessed to have my husband’s and son’s “dad” stories to share. I’ve imagined how one could discard the dreary details and only hold on to the happy chapters of our lives. I believe they all matter.
Wouldn’t it be great if each word spoken now was chosen to make someone laugh or smile later, and especially in seasons of trails or sadness? Let’s look to the one who gave the best example of what a father should be. Expect to find treasure more precious than rubies, silver, or gold. This Father’s Day and every day. Let’s find wisdom and strength in the love of the father.
If we really want to see God move in extraordinary ways, why is it so hard for us to step aside? What are your thoughts on the subject of finding wisdom and strength in the love of the father? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject in the Inspire A Fire comments section below this post. If you’d like to read more of my stories on IAF http://www.inspireafire.com/author/jcaypoole/ or look for my quirky Dreamdove’s Flights of Fancy blog: https://.joannclaypoole.wordpress.com Don’t forget to share the good news about finding wisdom and strength in the love of the father with your friends. Wishing you love, blessings, and strength for your journey ~ Joann
Special Thanks: Free use images from Pixabay ~ Featured image by Pexels. Gallery #1: TL image by Syaibatul Hamdi, TC image by Alexas Fotos, TR image by justabigadventure. bottom image by Dean Moriarty. Gallery #2: TL image by Sophie Maus, TC image by Pexels, TR image by Keelco23, bottom image by Lori Lang. #1 Single lg image by Stefan Keller. #2 Single lg image by Michael Schwarzenberger. #3 single image by northm4nn Gallery #3: TL image by MorningbirdPhoto, TC image by Katrin B., TR image by Pexels, bottom single image by StockSnap.