Nov 7, 2019

Gimme A Break

I saw someone’s post about their dad on his birthday. It said something to the effect of: ‘I could never ask or dream up a better dad. You are an incredible dad…’

At first glance, I wish that I could say that this was true for my life; perhaps I wouldn’t have had some of the quirks that I do.

But that wasn’t my story. My story is that I had a dad (and mom) who in spite his (and her) best efforts left fingerprints all over my life like a person attempting to clean a crystal chandelier.

My life has been seasons of struggle, depression, woundedness, isolation, and loneliness. I’m messy.

If you get too close my walls sometimes come up in an attempt to hold you at bay. Over the years I have struggled with control, anger, humor, sarcasm and other forms of self-protection.

While working at a treatment center, my staff walked me through a twelve-step program for people who grew up without hugs. I think that they were in cahoots with Cathy’s family who LOVE to hug!

But, as I have grown older and had children of my own, I’ve come to not only appreciate what my parents went through to raise me; but I also came to honor and respect them.

Simply put, they did the best they could and as my mom said one time; “You boys married outside your league so I would say that you have it pretty good!” And she was right.

So, as the song says and as all parents’ hearts cry out; “Gimme a break, gimme a break…”

The two of them sacrificed so much of their time, emotions, sleep, finances, and physical health to provide for all of us children over our lifetimes. 

As my children now have children of their own, I’ve come to realize that my parents did more than their best. Parenting is hard work and it is a marathon for that we all need a break.

In spite of my parents’ flaws, weakness, and inabilities, they did a really good job raising us ten children who at times made their job hard and showed them no respect.

I look back and realize that in many areas, I had been provided for better than many who come from "perfect" homes had. My dad worked hard so that we were NEVER in debt. Sometimes this meant working on his days off to pick up extra money as he sacrificed to provide for his family; always thinking of other people above himself.

The house was kept spotless, both inside and out. The lawn was lush and green and was cut meticulously three times a week. We had fruit trees and gorgeous flower gardens.

My mom did her part by staying home and dealing with ten children; especially with us four boys who were all just over one year a part and frequently gave her reasons to be mad at us.

There was always enough food for everyone. And we didn’t just eat, we ate very well! My mom was thrifty and would look for deals so that we could eat steak and roasts like kings several nights of the week.

She made homemade meals cooked over several hours that were NEVER thrown together last minute. She also made sure that EVERY year at the start of school we were dressed in the latest fashion. She also did laundry every day so that we always looked our best.

In spite of their own struggles and the obstacles that have come their way, they never quit on their own marriage, leaving a legacy of hope that marriages can be renewed and don't have to end in divorce. They passed on their wisdom and prayed Cathy and I through turbulent times in our marriage. 

My parents, as I look back, went WAY above and beyond in everything they did, all the time. And the best thing that my parents did was give their lives to Jesus and then prayed us children into the kingdom!

I couldn't do what I do to prepare couples for marriage if not for the godly influence of my parents in my life.

I wouldn't even be a minister, let alone be right with God if not for their prayers!

Everyone they meet is blessed by them, because they both love helping people. I, and so many people who have met them, am so blessed by my mom and dad.

No, I didn’t grow up with this man’s dad or mom; I grew up with mine and I wouldn't want to change places with him because they made me who I am today. I wouldn’t be half the person I am today without them in my life. 

As I write this, I can honestly say that I had it pretty good; no, actually I had it really good! I love them both and I am SO PROUD to call them my dad and mom. They both did an incredible job as parents and I am so blessed by the Lord be connected to them!

So, on behalf of all parents far and wide, gimme a break, gimme a break. And as my dad, who loves chocolate would add; “Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat Bar!”