From Guest Blogger Jocelyn of the awesome blog, "We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ."
I visited my parents last week. It was my mom's birthday, and I haven't been back to my hometown in nearly two years, so it was time.
There have been some changes in my little home base. For instance, my parents don't live in the house that I grew up in anymore. And the city finally put in sidewalks and added a stop light at one of the busiest intersections, bringing the grand total for traffic lights to two.
Other than that the town still looks the same to me. The streets have the same names, and the small houses still bring back the same memories for me. My folks now live in my grandparent's old house, which happens to be down the street-just seven houses away-from my childhood home.
When I go home, I can remember everything. I remember all of my adolescent milestones: my first friend, first sleep-over, the first time I rode my bike around alone. I remember my first date, my first kiss, the first boy I ever had a crush on. I remember all of the funny antics of my siblings growing up in a small town.
This time when I went home, though, I was also reminded of every dumb thing I'd ever done to my Dad in about five seconds time. Let me explain. It happened when my dad backed his car into mine when he was leaving for work one afternoon.
When he came inside to tell me, he was so tore up about it...he was just so sad. I followed him outside to tell him that I don't even care about the car...I only care about and love him! I didn't want him to go to work feeling bad about himself.
I said, "Dad, I've broken about a hundred things of yours in the past..." and in an instant about a dozen or more memories flashed back into my recollection of times in my youth that I had carelessly broken something of his, or when I had neglected to keep a promise or complete a task that he had asked me to do or when I had been greedy and inconsiderate of his time, a time that I failed to repay a loan, and even a time that I had been too selfish to share the TV remote with him one Saturday afternoon!
I had to squeeze my eyes tight to keep the tears from falling as I wrapped my arms around my big, wonderful dad, and said simply, "I love you."
But what I meant to say was thank you. Thank you for not remembering all of the times that I was a complete doofus growing up, for not feeling the need to remind me of it, and for loving me in spite of it.
He might have "broken" my car (just a little bit), but my dad has never broken a promise. He has never broken my spirit. He has never broken my heart.
And somewhere in there, there's a big lesson for all of us about love. It's not the kind of love that gets sung about on the radio. It's not the stuff that screenplays are made of. But it's a kind of love that is most exquisite, a kind of love that is quiet, and rare, and real.