Tonight we had dinner with my brother & my parents to celebrate Father’s Day with my dad. Then, we drove across town to the cemetery where my grandfather was buried. He’s been gone a long time now, but we still have great memories of him. My dad shared a few stories about him with my kids, who haven’t met him yet, but will one day. One of my father’s favorite quotes is, “The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree”, meaning all of us are a product of our parents. He used to tell me if I wanted to know what people will be like when they’re older to look at their parents. He is truly the wisest person I’ve ever known. Maybe that’s partly because of who his parents are, and maybe partly because of other people and experiences he’s met during his life. But at some point, he realized that parents have a big impact on what type of people their children become. This must be why he and my mom have poured their lives into us all along the way. My parents are admired and respected by hundreds of people. But because not everyone has had the opportunity to know them as I have, I want to share some of what I’ve learned from them in my lifetime. They are not ordinary people, and I hope I won’t be either. Here’s a little story I wrote several years ago that gives one little example of what I’ve learned from my parents.When I was a little girl, I used to think of how awful it would be have to get married and leave home. And I never even entertained the thought of going away to college at that age. I would get teary-eyed just thinking about having to leave my parents and my brother and sister. Of course, as I got older, I realized how ridiculous this was, and I finally did go to college. And I’ll never forget the day I actually had to say goodbye. I stood watching through my tears as my family walked away to return home without me. I had already realized at age 18 that while other kids I knew couldn’t wait to leave home, I was blessed to have a family that made you wish you could stay forever. Of course it got easier as time went on, and I enjoyed college most of the time. But there were ups and downs. I had a roommate who became a good friend of mine, and I met my husband my first year. But there were hard classes, not-so-great food, and rules that made no sense. And then there was my job. I worked throughout my college years, and from the beginning I was assigned a job working in the college bakery. It sounds easy enough, but after two years of 5:00 am shifts, hairnets, and a distinct smell you can never forget, I was ready for a change. It was virtually unheard of at this college to be transferred from one job to another, but I was determined. So I left for home after my sophomore year and prayed my heart out all summer, throwing in a letter or two to the head of the student work program as well. By the next September, I felt sure I would get what I wanted. And as I drove to school with my boyfriend (now my husband), it was all I talked about. And while I was at it, I thought I’d pray for good roommates and a good room, preferably with a good view. I even went as far as to say that I wasn’t all that concerned about a roommate because I could get along with just about anybody, as long as I didn’t get placed with Melissa (not her real name). I had known who she was from previous semesters. She was the perfect example of an acorn that had come from a very strange tree. To put it lightly, she was “socially challenged”. She had been completely sheltered from the world her entire life and had not the slightest idea of how to interact with other people. Well, we arrived at school and within minutes I realized that not one of my prayers had been answered in the way that I had wanted. Not only had I not been given a new job, but they had made me a crew leader which meant longer hours and more responsibility. And while I’d hoped to get a room with a good view of the campus, I was going to be looking out onto a back alley, and even worse, my view inside was going to be of none other than Melissa. I dialed my parents’ number as fast as I could, knowing that they, too, would be surprised to learn that none of our prayers had been answered. Boy, would they be mad. My dad would probably drive right down and settle the whole matter as soon as I told him about it. I don’t think I let them get a word in edge-wise as I ranted of how the world was against me and that nothing had gone as planned. After a few minutes, I paused to catch my breath and let them tell me how sorry they felt for me. But they never offered their condolences. That was the kind of thing other parents might have naively done, never looking deep enough to understand the situation. I heard my dad begin to speak very seriously on the other end of the line. He was not angry, but very calm as he simply told me that he wasn’t going to listen to me complain about not getting my way. Then he added that if I were going to be mad at anyone, then I’d have to be mad at him and my mom rather than God because they were the ones who dedicated me to Him from the beginning. I hadn’t truly admitted it until I heard that, but I was mad at God, I guess. After all, how hard would it have been for Him to just give me what I had wanted? But I wasn’t going to be mad at my parents. They cared about me and I cared too much for them to be mad at them. But God cared even more than they did. How could I have dared to act that way? It turned out to be a hard year, but I guess it was what God knew I needed to realize that I didn’t always rely on Him like I should. And I also began to understand more that many of us may find it a little easier to get mad at God because we can’t see Him face to face like we can our own parents. But, He’s just as real. And God has designed our families so that we’ll understand better how we should relate to Him. I’ll never forget how powerful the words of my dad were as he spoke to me on the phone that day. It taught me a very important lesson. I guess that’s what the Lord had in mind. Happy Father’s Day to one of my favorite teachers ever. I love you, Dad.