Posts Tagged ‘memories’

Among my most prized possessions is a picture that sits in my office. It hasn’t always been there. In fact, I’ve only had it on my shelf for a few weeks.  In that short amount of time, the visitors and staff who swing by will almost always ask, “Who is this?” or “What is this a picture of?” Inevitably, the comparison is made, “This looks like a scene from the Andy Griffith Show”.  Well, close. The Andy Griffith show stopped airing in 1968. This picture was actually taken in 1975. I was 4 years old.

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It’s a picture of Dad taking me down to the fishin’ hole in Payson, AZ. It’s where I caught my first fish. It’s where we enjoyed some camping, rock collecting, hiking and exploring. We had campfires and smores and walked to natural springs of water where we drank straight from the stream.  There’s a lot of memories captured in that image. There’s a lot of emotions harnessed in that frame.

What’s most special to me about this picture, is that dad kept this in his office from 1975 to 2015–40 years!  I found it when we were cleaning out his workspace.  F-O-R-T-Y years?

I’d like to think it was dad’s way of remembering. I’d like to believe it was his way of unwinding. I would sometimes see him pondering while typing at his computer. He’d be facing his wall of shelves opposite his computer screen. I’d like to think he was looking at the picture. As if he was taking a mental break. As if the therapist was taking some therapy for himself. (he was our staff ‘counselor’) It was his way of being ‘out’ even while he was ‘in’.

My dad loved his job, but his greatest joy wasn’t in his WORK. It was in who he was OUTSIDE the office. He made great effort and took great joy in being a great husband, father, and grandfather. He recharged by continuously ‘reinventing’ himself through various interests over the years: photography, quad-riding, camping, hunting, astronomy, rocket building, shooting & reloading, etc. He even taught himself Spanish!  And…to top it all off…he even bought a boat two months before he passed away. To do more fishing!

As a transplant, dad always knew he was living on borrowed time. He was prepared to die. But he never waited for it. He was too busy living.

That’s how I want to live.  James S. Stewart said it best, “Let us live as people prepared to die, and die as people prepared to live.”

Since losing dad, I’ve found myself.  At least I’ve learned a little bit more about myself, what makes me tick & what matters most. I appreciate LIFE more. I value deeper RELATIONSHIPS. I seek out ADVENTURES and look for life’s STORIES to tell, no matter how big or small they are. I hoard MEMORIES and cherish RICH CONVERSATION. I know true FAITH is contagious. That most ‘ministry’ has nothing to do with what people see ‘on stage’.  I now trade QUANTITY for QUALITY. I’ve learned my FAMILY is my first MINISTRY and that being a pastor isn’t something you ever really ‘retire’ from.  And I’ve discovered that EVANGELISM isn’t something you DO. As a Christ follower, being an EVANGELIST is who you are.

And while I love my JOB, I understand my IDENTITY needs to be more about who I am OUTSIDE the office.

And speaking of the office, I now put more pictures of the kids on my shelves.  So they can remember. So they can discover. So they can find themselves.

I learned all of this…by finding dad.

 

Parents are too predictable.

I’m 40, but I’ll never forget one magical day in the 6th grade.  It was a Thursday. My brother and I just got home from school and were playing football in the backyard.  My dad came home from work early, called everyone together and said, “Go pack. We’re going to Disneyland!” Of course we thought he was joking, but he was dead-serious!

There are several things that made that trip special:  We missed school on Friday! It caught us by surprise.  Our family was together and had a great time.

As parents, I think it should be in our CREED to be CREATIVE.  When we do the UNEXPECTED, we CREATE MEMORIES.  There’s nothing wrong with the ROUTINE. In fact, my house wouldn’t run well without it.  However, don’t be afraid to STRAY FROM THE NORMAL. Keep your kids ‘guessing’.  Keep them anticipating “what’s next?”.  Help them get excited about your family.  It’s the unpredictable, spontaneous event that make your kids’ “highlight reel”.  It’s awesome to hear your kids bragging about how “cool” their parents are and how “awesome” their family is.

Here are some ideas:

1. Pull your kid out of school; take them out to lunch to a place of THEIR choice.

2. Take an unplanned, mid-week trip to Disneyland.

3. Take a daytrip out of town to a famous location (museum, zoo, historical site, etc.)

4. Leave notes in their lunchbox or backpack.

5. Try a “new” family activity TOGETHER. (hike, board game, ice skating, roller-skating, lazer tag, paintball, climbing gym, indoor racing, bounce house, etc.)

6. Clean their room for them while they’re at school and leave a small “gift” for them.

7. Take them out for an inexpensive “date” where you can TALK together (Starbucks, ice cream or yogurt shop)  –or– try an elaborate date night where you all dress up and go out for a dining EXPERIENCE (like Melting Pot w/ Gondola rides, etc.)

8.  Secretly plan a “sleep over” with their closest friends.

9. Give them a small-scale Christmas in July.

What are some of your ideas?