Every so often we’re hit with these moments where greatness is displayed. The thing is, greatness doesn’t show up in the midst of bright lights, crowds or power. I immediately think of our Lord Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane where he prays “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” It’s in Christ’s humility that greatness is revealed.
Christ’s dedication, love, humility and sacrifice are so clearly depicted that we respond with respect and honor. I want to share another similar moment witnessed with my own father demonstrating greatness.
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer after 36 years of marriage to my father. During this highly taxing time, my parents were going to take a week’s vacation in the mountains of Virginia. However, my mom’s health took a tragic turn for the worse when she became very ill due to the compounded effects of the chemotherapy. Through this time, my dad would spend all day each day in the hospital with her while she was too weak to eat, move around, and even talk.
My dad and I drove home late one evening while leaving the nightly care of my mom (his wife) to the nurses. My dad was very drained and frustrated because there was nothing he could do about the situation except wait and hope. Of course, these health issues along with the many other life stresses were wearing against him physically, emotionally and spiritually. However, it’s these times (some call it testing) that our true character shines through. I tend to think that these “tests” aren’t for God to see how true we are to him, but for us to realize that our life experiences have moved the faith of God the 18 inches from our head to our heart.
So, it’s this evening of frustration and confusion that my dad makes this profound and heartfelt plea, “I just want my wife back. I don’t know, maybe God is trying to teach me how to love my wife better.”
These are the words of greatness – words of a man filled with love and humility, but dedicated to sacrifice (similar to our Lord). It’s these moments that solidify what I’ve seen continually my whole life – a man of integrity, dedication, and relentless sacrifice.
As I reflect on those people who I look to as heroes, my dad is right there. There are a lot of weak men – losers – who live for themselves and aren’t worthy of any respect (no matter how successful they may be professionally), but then there are men like my dad who carry forth the torch of goodness in this world through pain and uncertainty. These are the men deserving of honor and respect. These are the men that the rest of us can admire, be proud of and model our character after.
Dad – you are a man deserving of much respect and honor. You continue to set a profound example of worthy character for me to follow. Thank you for being a hero and role model who stands far above many other fathers I’ve seen. I am truly blessed.