Friday, June 13, 2014

"What You Don't Know"

If I have time to write these days, it's usually done on a private blog where I write more vulnerably to my boys. Sometimes the entries include stories about our day; sometimes I'm trying to impart biblical wisdom to them; and sometimes I write about where they are developmentally.  Ideally I'll be able to compile these entries in a printed book version and give them to the boys as gifts on a yearly basis.

Below is an entry I recently wrote to them about their dad.  Though he's imperfect (and he'll likely be surprised at what he reads when he sees this), he's an exemplary dad who models the Perfect Savior.

"What You Don't Know"

Luke and Caleb,

We recently went to your favorite park right by Daddy's work to picnic for dinner.  Usually it's just the three of us at the park together, so your faces lit up with excited surprise when you saw Daddy walking towards you in his blue scrubs and with his briefcase in hand.  He was on the phone in what appeared to be an important conversation.  As I was swinging you, Caleb, I heard another father at the park teasingly comment that your dad "looked important in his blue scrubs."  I felt frustrated when I heard this, because there was so much that this man did not know.

What this man did not know what that your dad had walked blocks from work just to savor a few free moments he had before he needed to return to work.  Your dad didn't care what he looked like or how he appeared to others; he simply wanted to see his wife and kids.  This man didn't know that the highlight of your dad's day that day was seeing you two laugh and play at the park during the 30 free minutes he had available to see you.

Similarly, boys, there is so much about your father that you do not yet know.

You know that your daddy loves you.  But you do not know the extent of that love.  You do not recognize the pride on your father's face when he talks about you two.  You do not know how he joyfully laughs at your differences and celebrates the ways that you are unique. You don't know that he frequently asks me to "keep the boys up" on nights when he is leaving work near your bedtime, because he just wants to see you.  You don't know that your daddy runs upstairs to your bedroom on nights when he returns from work long after your bedtime, and he watches you and pats you as you sleep.   You don't know that it's really not your dad's inclination to belly laugh loudly and play Goliath with you, but he'll do just about anything to make you laugh.  You don't know that in the midst of his day of cutting cancer out, he's most satisfied when he gets to call home in between surgeries to hear how your day is going: what discipline is looking like that day, what our plans are, or what funny comments you have made so far.  You don't know that when he speaks sternly to correct you; or when he tells you to take your toys away from the dinner table; or when he sits across from you at supper for an entire hour as he waits for you to swallow that last piece of broccoli- it's because he loves you.

When people ask what your daddy does, you answer that he "works hard to help people," but let's separate those phrases.  

You know that your daddy works hard.  But you do not know how hard he works and how well he disguises that exhaustion to you when he walks through the front door.  You don't know that he wakes up hours before you do, stands on his feet for at least 12 hours (usually longer), and does well if he gets enough of a break to eat his sandwich and apple that is packed for him.  He tries his best to be available to us when he comes home, and after you've gone to sleep, he often reads to prepare for tomorrow's surgery.  Yes, your dad works hard.

You know that your daddy helps people.  But you don't know that helping sick people get better is what drives your daddy to work so hard.  People choose their careers for various reasons; your father chose to become a surgeon so that he can help sick people.   It's that simple.  He treats some of the sickest patients in his specialty, and he cares deeply about giving them his best effort as their surgeon. Your dad is fully aware of his weaknesses, as he frequently calls between surgeries to voice those and to be reminded that we are praying for him.  Yes, your daddy uses his God-given abilities to work hard to help people, boys.

You don't know the extent of his love for you; you don't know how hard he works; and you don't know how much he wants to help people.  This sounds like an exemplary father to me, sons, and you would do well to watch and learn from him.  It sounds a lot like the Heavenly Father whose love we cannot fathom, who came to earth to work hard by being perfectly obedient to the Father so that he could help us by granting us saving life through Him.  May you come to know that perfect Father as your own father exemplifies Him to you.

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