Friday, October 21, 2011

All of us are Important, or None of us are.

“If you see a friend without a smile; give him one of yours.”
Proverb quote

Life is hard.  As with anything hard, it has rewards, but the greatest irony (and believe me I KNOW irony) is anything gained in this life can’t be brought with you into the next one.  At least anything material gained or unless you are an Egyptian Pharaoh.  Those guys got to bring everything with them, even their pets.  If the Egyptians were right, I would want to be buried with a camera.  The only reason is I don’t think anyone else would have remembered to bring one.  Oh, and a harmonica. 

A good marriage and good kids make you realize something.  You matter as an individual in this life.  If at any point you remove yourself or one of those other individuals and the rest suffer, then you understand what it means to matter in someone else’s life. 

“It’s a Wonderful Life” explains as best it can the point I am trying to make.  In the office, after George’s Dad dies, there is a sign on the wall that says “All you can take with you is that which you've given away”

I remember the first time I caught that.  I was an adult, and Katie was just born.  We were staying in a 2 bedroom apartment in Tinley Park and we didn’t have much.  It was our first Christmas as a family of 3 and I got choked up when I saw it.  I didn’t cry, because I am not a sissy, but I was close.  But I thought then that I had heard this concept before, many times in one form or another.  You can’t take it with you or People are an investment worth making.

But this was a different application.  In fact, it so parallels Christianity in its simplicity and execution of how a Christian should live.  Our lives and our relationships cannot be measured in a qualifying chart of summarized returns like bonuses and profits.

You matter to other living breathing individuals that they may count on seeing you just to make it through their day.  Or maybe you happen to just matter to one person on this planet and you are everything to them.

Brandon and I were going over his spelling words out loud.  And as we were practicing he spelled one word out of twenty three wrong.  Now Brandon takes everything personally.  He hates failure and hates when he gets something wrong.  The word was receive. His eyes started to well up, and I thought he was going to be ok, able to hold in the disappointment until Collin shouted “BRANDON WHY ARE YOU CRYING!  DAD, BRANDON’S GOING TO CRY!”


Dismissing Collin, I told Brandon to come sit by me.  He sat on my lap in the chair and I asked what was wrong.  He replied “I don’t know…”  But he knew.  He is just too young to describe it and put it into words.  After he said I don’t know he really started crying.  

I spoke kindly to him, with a bit of encouragement “Brandon, look at me.”  Holding his spelling book in my hand I said “Buddy, these are just words.  It’s just simple memorization of 23 words.  On your bike 2 weeks ago you peddled over 11 miles.  THAT was hard.  You were an 8 year old that went over 11 miles on your bike.  These letters, these are nothing, you’ll get this.  Now, wipe your tears.”

He took his sleeve and wiped away a big tear that was stuck in the corner of his eye.  He looked at me and said “Dad, can I get a piece of paper and write them down as you say them, instead of spelling then out loud?”

Of course he could.  He ran and got paper and we went over the letters and he spelled every one of them correctly on his sheet of paper.

I have a few years left with Brandon to break the self image he has of himself, the image of “I make too many mistakes to try”.  But I noticed that if I believed in him, he believed in himself.

People, all people, at one point or another need someone to believe in them.  For kids, it might be parents or grandparents.  For students, it’s a teacher.  For spouses it’s their significant other, and for Luke Skywalker it was Obi-Wan Kenobi.

What should happen in life is we should all believe in one another.  As a fallen race, we should look to our left and right at our co-humans and realize no one does this life right.  And we all need a little help, a little belief that we can matter to the next person, that we can achieve something that we didn’t think we could.

What is characteristic of what we are as a race is our inability to be helpful to those outside our view of responsibility, to be jealous of another’s success, and to demean those of a different perspective than our own.

John 3:16, when not being put on cardboard and shown at football games starts with “God so loved the world…”

That, needs a longer pause than most of us Christians give it, we so focus on the rest of the verse that the very reason for the rest of it is this part here.

He loved every facet and variation of people. Never minimize your purpose or existence and never allow someone else to minimize you either.
We all matter. 

As far as we have fallen as a people, as far away we stand on matters of politics or religion or are separated from each other depending on whatever issue we feel is important for the hour of whatever day it doesn’t matter…

Because He so loved us.  And that love gave a gift, and that gift salvages what is left of life into something everlasting.

I don’t have time to be anything BUT a good father to my son.  He needs to know that his Dad believes in him, that he can succeed.  And that no matter what happens, I so love him.

Not just my son, or all my kids, or wife, or friends either.  But my enemies and strangers as well are deserving of this same kind of love.

Because they are the world and they all matter too.  If I am so loved, they should be as well.

Luke 12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?  But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.