“We needed your parents information, not your grandparents,” my teacher said. “I am sure your mom and dad misread the questionnaire.”
Those words on my first day of grammar school started me noticing that my parents were older than my classmate’s mothers and fathers. Funny thing was, I had never noticed their graying hair or the start of wrinkles around their eyes.
Mother and Daddy were married twenty years before me, their firstborn, entered this world. They had prayed for children but were beginning to believe that would not be God’s plan for their lives. I was a welcomed surprise and two years later my brother was born.
At the age when most fathers were focused on making a living for their families, mine was filling out retirement papers. My friend’s mothers were having children long after my mother was past the childbearing age.
My time of not honoring my parents peaked in high school. I thought they were old-fashioned in their lifestyle choices and in their deep commitment to spiritual beliefs.
Most of my friends were allowed to date earlier than me, wear the shortest of short skirts (the style at that time), stay out much later than me and cruise in cars down the main street in the near-by town.
Stick-in-the-muds, I thought, behind the times, terribly old-fashioned. Why did my friends have the luck of having parents that were more like friends to their children?
I knew the scripture: honor your father and mother that your days may be long in the land that the Lord you God is giving you…hadn’t I spelled it out in dried macaroni on Bible-school plaques over the years. I was dealing with the real-life now…I wanted to be popular and dress in the latest style. I walked a thin line between obeying my parents and retaining my in-crowd status.
All that changed on a hot Southern afternoon. My mother found my father, a severe diabetic, confused and scared in his beloved back yard hammock. He couldn’t speak and his walking was labored. Daddy was rushed to the hospital where he suffered a heart attack.
To say I had a change of heart because of Daddy’s illness would be putting it lightly. Coming so close to losing my father made me rethink all the values he and my mother had so lovingly tried to instill in me. I had not always honored them and I was being given a chance to rectify that wrong.
I cannot say with all truthfulness I honored my parents in every circumstance after my father’s illness. I can say I stopped and rejoiced that he was alive and prayed about my actions before I acted.
I sent my Daddy a Father’s Day card after I married, telling him I was sorry for the times I dishonored him and asking for his forgiveness. He wrote on the bottom of his card:
As my heavenly father has forgiven me so many times, you were forgiven by me. I love the woman you have become and see how you honor your mother and me but rejoice more in the manner you honor your Father God.
When my card arrived back to me I cried tears of joy.
Both of my parents are enjoying heaven now. I honor their memory with a grateful heart.
Are your parents alive…do you honor them?
Thank you Lord, for the father’s we honor this month and for our recently honored mothers. May we honor You, Father God, in all we say and do.