My dad has had cancer since last October. He is suffering through treatments right now and hasn’t had too many good days lately.
I love my Dad for many reasons but largely because of all that he has taught me about life and life with God.
I decided to share with you some of the things he has taught me:
Love much, laugh often, and pray each step of the way: This statement, in various forms, has been spread around for years. I don’t know where my dad heard it but it has become one of his favorite prayers for most of my life. This pretty much sums up his philosophy of life. Love those around you, show care for them, take an interest in others. Enjoy the simplicity of a good laugh, a small joke, a uniquely peculiar moment. And pray as much as possible. My dad is not the most theologically sophisticated guy but I know that he faithfully reads his Bible, reads short devotionals, and prays.
Being critical of people is not necessary: I remember as a kid feeling kind of ashamed at the dinner table when I had just spent the last few minutes bashing someone. My parents don’t make this kind of talk a habit. I am sure they had their own conversations about people but being critical was always unbecoming. They aren’t oblivious to the realities of people and life, they just don’t think that criticizing others is going to accomplish much other than making the person talking look unattractive and negative.
Too many people’s default position is to complain about others. What a valuable lesson it was to learn that there may be a better way. A way that honored people, that was conscious of my own failings, and was willing to be patient with people.
The Serenity Prayer: Another one of his go to prayers. You have heard this prayer before, “Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the power to know the difference.”
It is pretty obvious why this prayer is one of the most highly used written prayers in history. For my dad, he has been willing over the years to let each aspect of this prayer be a motto for life, not just one that benefited him in the moment. His willingness to grow and let God move in him is not as easy as it sounds, especially when you reach the age where you are expected to be set in your ways. God is still working in my dad, I have seen it through his fight with cancer and throughout my life. That inspires me to keep working on my own spiritual development and keep growing.
I hope you, the reader, have as good a role model for Christian living as I have had with my dad.