I guess there’s no way to know all of the things our parents have taught us. For most of us, the list would surely include our first words and our first steps and maybe riding a bike and driving a car. Mine helped me learn to read, to write, to pray, and to trust.
And you know what? They are still teaching me every day.
My dad had surgery yesterday to remove a melanoma. The surgery was a success, but it wasn’t easy on him. He’s battered, stitched, bruised and swollen. Of course, it’ll be a few more days before the test results are in.
But watching the way my parents have approached this has been a great life lesson for me. They, who’ve faced so much together, see this as “the next hurdle.” They’re helping me see that that’s what life is — a series of hurdles.
I’ve never been a hurdler in real life. I don’t see myself as a well-trained athlete who can leap (or would you bound?) over hurdles in the path — much less do so while keeping up speed. I admit that I find myself thinking that I’d be much more likely to stop completely and maybe sob and wail and complain about the obstacle. But that’s not how one would ever win a race. And that’s what my parents are still teaching me.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Apostle Paul wrote about the Christian life as running a race. He used the words race, prize, and crown at least 11 times. Winning the race involves running, clearing — not crying over — hurdles, and continuing on with endurance. And we do that not in our own strength or even with the strength of our family and friends but through relying on God who promises His strength and His presence and who will never leave us or forsake us.
I understand that lesson a little better at the end of this week than I did at the beginning. And that is thanks, in large part, to the example set by my parents.