Friday, June 4, 2010

Now And Then

  I distinctly remember the first time I learned that my father was fallible. That maybe, just maybe, he had chinks in his armor. I was in my bathroom trying to get myself together. My mother was in the hospital dying (no, she's not dead, but not for lack of trying) and I had put my little brother to bed and was going about my nightly routine of packing for the next day before I left to stay the night at the hospital. I was sixteen and a junior in high school. My father had returned from work and his evening stop at the hospital and we had fought. I don't remember what the fight was over. I just remember trying to hold him up to my perfect ideal and he finally explained his humanity in a way that hit home.

  My earth shifted a little on its axis. If he wasn't perfect, then no one was perfect. If he couldn't help me then I was alone in this. I didn't understand yet. My world had been built on his perfection. He would always take care of me. I could always depend on him. He would always be there. He would always be strong enough--or so I thought until that moment. If he wasn't perfect, then mom could really die and I could be stuck in this rut of raising a young boy before I'd even graduated high school. Don't get me wrong. I loved (and still love) that boy more than life, but it was no life for a teenager.

  I didn't understand that the chinks in one persons armor were like the teeth in a zipper. They meshed perfectly with another person's chinks so that together they we were stronger. Life is just a process of finding the people that have the pieces that fit in your empty spots and who have empty spots that you can fill. Yes, I believe in God. I believe He can fill the empty spots all by himself, but I really don't think that's what He does. He leaves us vulnerable on purpose. He leaves us open with our wounded parts hanging out for other people to come along and make well. In doing so, we learn love. It's why we're here.

  If God was just going to swoop down and solve all our problems all the time without asking us to learn anything or grow, what would be the point? If we weren't meant to need one another, why create more than one person?

I get that.



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