This video with Neil Josephson was the inspiration for the following story.
“You’re not getting in the boat until you try one more time”.
My six year old body shivered in the cold water, tears streaming down my face as I begged and pleaded to get back in the boat.
“But I can’t do it! I fell hard and now my toe is bruised! I think I might be paralyzed!”
“You’re fine. If I let you in now, you’ll never get back up, and you want to know how to ski don’t you? You are not a quitter”
After hours of patient instruction and many gallons of gas my father had painstakingly worked with me so I could do what I so desperately wanted – get up on two skis all by my self. Reluctantly I nodded, looked around at the setting sun, skis splayed off to my left and right, and secretly wished a massive fish would swallow me whole so I wouldn’t have to try yanking myself up one more time. Squeezing my eyes shut I kept my best “sitting on a piano bench” position and let the boat pull till . . . I miraculously popped up on top of the water! Elated I skied my victory lap around the lake, hooting and hollering, forgetting my bruised toe and temporary paralysis. I was so proud of myself, sticking it out paid off, I did it!
I wasn’t a quitter! It was magical.
I didn’t know it then, but that was one of my life’s more important “it” moments. An invaluable gift from my dad that has shaped the person I’ve become today. The same gift I try to pass on to my own children when they are at their lowest, and believe they just can’t keep going. Today as a 40 year old daughter I have never forgotten that day or how I felt. “Never give up” is a thread woven through my life. I apply it everywhere. From persistently trying to juggle a life that’s too busy, right down to squeezing out the last drop of toothpaste.
I. Will. Not. Give up.
However over the years I’ve forgotten to apply those all-important words to the one place I shouldn’t – my relationship with my dad. We rarely chat anymore. Years of awkward and painful silences caused by divorce along with geographical distances have taken their toll. I’ve given up on trying, re-signing myself to the fact “we just aren’t that close”, or worse, believing the responsibility was all his.
It’s not. It’s mine too.
I have a responsibility to our relationship also. If I truly wish to honor and obey God’s desire for reconciliation, it’s important I acknowledge and fulfill my role. I came to a place of: acceptance, forgiveness, and grace a long time ago and I now understand that for me was the easy part. Recently I realized it’s something I’ve been hiding behind for too long. Reconciliation is where the hard work comes in. It takes time, effort, and sometimes pain to move forward. However it can’t be ignored. It’s part of the healing process. Time moves fast, opportunities don’t last forever, and tomorrow may be too late.
So that is my gift this year to my dad, to be a better daughter:
To call more often,
To send photos of my kids,
To say thanks when he makes an effort,
To never give up,
Happy Father’s Day Dad, and thanks for the gift of a memorable lesson that has lasted me a lifetime.
Read more related topics: Honour Dad with Forgiveness and Gratitude