My dad was truly a brilliant and gifted individual. He was a full time officer, finishing his service as a Lieutenant Detective. He was also a full time Teacher at an all boys private High School at which he taught eighteen different subjects, including Latin and German. He even worked twelve hours on Saturdays as a butcher with his dad who was also an officer. Workaholic? Most likely. I inherited his ambitions to be productive with my time. Work has often allowed me an escapism, but it has also permitted me a Grace period to work through my grieving process at my own pace.
He was always ‘teaching’ for he was a truly gifted teacher. He did not do so for any financial reward for in his day such a career earned doodley squat. His attitude was honorable. He sincerely believed that if a student was not learning, he was at fault. He never blamed the student. He saw it as his responsibility to convey whatever lesson needed to be taught. He never gave up on anyone learning because he refused to give up on himself.
He had some quirky ways of remembering things that often left me somewhat perplexed. One of them was his saying: ‘De-feet went over De-fence before De-tail.’ What??? Well, translated he was stating: Defeat went over the fence before detail. Any clearer? If so, you’re a genius for I wrestled with this one for decades. I even passed it on to my eldest who was finally able to make sense of it and clarify it for me. I’ll leave you with the riddle without explanation. 🙂 (Hint: the importance of being detail oriented)
He also was a great story teller, especially when it came to nursery rhymes. He taught them in such a way that one’s wheels would have to grind away in contemplation in order to derive the true teaching behind the story. ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ was one of my favorites. He would often tell such stories when he perceived a need in me. If I was feeling as if I was falling short of some goal, out would come this particular tale. He used this vignette to encourage me.
Jesus loved to teach in parables. Perhaps, that is how my dad developed his style of teaching. Only those who truly desired to learn and understand, to see beyond how many fingers were being held up before one’s face, could. Such desire not only revealed one’s heart, but it also taught the recipient something they would never forget because they had such an invested interest in the learning of it. Sadly, such gifted teachers today are often few and far between. With the technological advancements, instead of working through mathematical equations in one’s mind, folks simply pull out a machine and push a few buttons. Machines now do our thinking for us. What a waste of so many beautiful minds. Like the old saying goes: ‘Use it or lose it’.
The tale of ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ as taught to me, not only simply encouraged me when I felt as if I was falling behind in some way. It also taught me to not look upon outward appearances; it taught me not to compare myself or any personal achievements with those of others. It taught me there was no need for envy. Essentially, my dad was handing me a nugget of Wisdom:
2 Corinthians 10: (KJV)
12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
We have a tendency to compare ourselves in our grieving process with the ‘progress’ of others. If we feel ‘stuck’ or as if we are not ‘healing’ or ‘recovering’ at the rate of others, we often fall into the trap of berating ourselves. In a world in which individuality is becoming a ‘bad’ word, and is being slowly eradicated while being replaced with ‘globalism’, we are losing a valuable gift from our Creator. The lost concept of us all being as individual as snowflakes, and the marvel of such being honored, is resulting in many negative ramifications. The world is always a copy-cat of the things of God, but never succeeds for it is always only an imitation. Personally, I prefer the real thing.
The Scriptures teach a beautiful balance between being ‘One’, and being uniquely individuals. We who follow the Christ know we are all parts of One Body. At the same time, our gifts all differ and the form in which those gifts are manifested differ, as well. Contrary to this is the way in which the world desires ‘oneness’. We are now taught in rote rather that having the beauty of individual thought and perspective. If a person does not express their grief in the same manner as others, they are often ostracized. It goes against today’s concept of globalism and of ‘oneness’ in thought. Rather than honor, respect, and embrace uniqueness which grants us the appreciation of such and the ability to learn and grow from one another, often we discover the majority all stuck in the same quicksand. Instead of valuing the differences, there is an attempt to force folks to choose a ‘camp’ and remain in it. Ingenuity is discouraged and in process of being destroyed.
“The race is not to the swift” (Eccl. 9:11). The race is won by remaining focused, traveling at our own pace, persevering, enduring, being steadfast, and never giving up. And so it is with our individual grief journey. Those that desire to race ahead will eventually wear themselves out from the stress that accompanies such. The pressure often from those not on this journey to ‘move on’, ‘get over it’, etc., is simply their own desire for grievers to be as they are…without grief. But a tortoise cannot make himself a hare. The only thing that matters when all is said is done is that we finish the race.
Acts 20:24b (VOICE)
“The only value I place on my life is that I may finish my race, that I may fulfill the ministry that Jesus our King has given me, that I may gladly tell the good news of God’s grace.”
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.
Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/
Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))