THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR BOYS
Three boys, whose Dad departed earth much too early, are left with very little but a book he made of pictures, thoughts, ideas and dreams. For the youngest son it becomes a mystical odyssey, where Dad shows up at the most opportune times. Just when things seem to be at their most bizarre or worst. POP!! One adventure after another, some filled with delight, some with scary parts, some with lessons learned, but all ending in time spent with his father making new memories.
It made me think about my Dad, what he did, what he never did, what was important to him, what seldom mattered. Most importantly, what lessons did he leave behind for me to learn? Was there one defining moment that affected his life more than any other? Absolutely! Although he never ever spoke of it, his life was permeated with one of life’s most tragic events for a child. At the age of five my Dad was abandoned by his father. Given the opportunity to either play his clarinet for the world to hear, or choose to whisper ‘I love you’ into my Gramma Jesse’s and my Dad’s ear before going to bed each night, good Ole Percy chose to hit the road. Oh, after that, they lived in the only house in the neighborhood with no indoor plumbing. It had an outhouse and hand pump for cold water. They did have a flashlight on the kitchen table for those late night excursions. Gramma Jesse was the best mother anyone could hope for. She herself was one of eight that grew up on a large farm in Holmdel, NJ. Raised by loving, hardworking parents.
As my siblings and I were growing up, we lived in a home with four generations under one roof. There was Gramma Jesse, her father my great grandpop, my Dad and Mother, and the three Lewis brats. Plus an often inebriated Uncle Jim. It was like living in a kaleidoscope. Four generations living together during the post-war depression trying to maintain individual lives while sharing day old milk n’ toast for breakfast. And that same bread and cow’s tongue sandwiches for lunch, and sliced potatoes with stewed tomatoes for supper. No frig, just a metal washtub with a 50-pound block of ice at its center. So how does this work into my thesis on What We Leave Behind?
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it was the homogenized culture of Life (1945-1951) that has miraculously played itself out with our families as we shared our life with the kaleidoscope of people that walked through our doors.
My father was an honorable, gentle, quiet man who worked hard to be the best provider possible. Unfortunately for us, without a father figure in his life, he didn’t have a clue how to love like a husband or love like a father, with no one to show him how. Therefore, neither did I. Nothing can really replace the presence of a loving father, nothing. Or is there a better alternative?
In 1975 I was introduced to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The Father of all. In accepting Him into my life I also learned The Way to be a loving husband and a loving Father.
The legacy I will leave behind is the knowledge that a life dedicated to Christ is not a collection of metaphors or humoring stories. No matter your heritage, your upbringing, your family fortune or lack thereof. Regardless of stature, (I’m 5’6” 147lbs.) or national origin (Mom was an American Indian). A life dedicated to Christ, successfully passed down through generations, is something to be cherished.
Remarkably, what started with four generations not knowing Christ, is now Five generations: 1/ Gramma Jesse; 2/ Dad; 3/ Mel and I; 4/ Our children Jessica, Alison and Jeff; and 5/ our grandchildren, Lianna, Joshua, Zoe, Aurora, Owen and Beatrice. All living for Christ. What are you leaving behind for those you love? Will it fill a book or a page? Will it last a life time or but a moment?
Will they laugh, will they cry, will they daydream or wonder just how you did it? Will they recall some special moment or be overwhelmed by all you did do? Or will they remember at all?
What has the Father left behind for you to do? What can you leave for others?
It’s never too late to try either-to leave something of value for the ones you love, or do what God has left behind for you to accomplish.
Don’t be surprised if both are weaved together as a tapestry of magnificent splendor and remarkable value.
YOU CAN DO IT. I know you can.!!!!!!!
Happy FATHER’s Day.