Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January, 2010

Those three words are still echoing in my mind and heart. They only brushed past my ear for a few milliseconds today, but the vibration of them continues, an acoustic double-espresso of emotional energy.

“Love you, Dad!” Tossed over his shoulder as one of my adult sons headed out.

A simple phrase, really. Easy to tune out or even brush off. Until your kids grow up, that is.

Thinking back, the “I love you’s” flow easily when the kids are young. Then they get older, and it’s not so cool to say it. What was once taken for granted dries up, replaced by the silent hope that it’s still true. The unspoken is now taken for granted.

You get used to silence after a while – uncomfortably reconciling yourself to a season of affections assumed, though your ears miss the words even as your eyes interpret the almost imperceptible gestures. You were there, once, some years back – you know how young men keep it in check. Especially when their budding independence comes up against your not-quite-so-confident-anymore leadership.

Then, as they leave the cocoon into the responsibilities and privileges of adulthood, their parents seem to undergo a metamorphosis as well. No longer a mere “bad cop” figurehead at the helm of a prison ship, or some retro dunce from another planet, those parents transform into human beings again.

Mom and Dad again.

And every “Love you, Dad!” rings that much louder. Makes the moment that much brighter. Means more than the young man can possibly know.

Fame, titles, riches – they all have their place. A pretty distant second place, overall. Every “Love you, Dad!” is pure gold.

————-

Connect with Steve Woodruff

Twitter: @swoodruff

Subscribe to Steve’s Leaves via RSS or e-mail

Read Full Post »

The beginning of a new year is always the time for “resolutions”. Often, they’re little more than good intentions dressed up in an almost see-through dress of determination, soon to be exchanged for the casual everyday fashion of the same old-same old.

Because words and will don’t change us.

That striking psalm of humility before God, Psalm 51, contains this pregnant phrase: Create in me a clean heart, O God.

Maybe that’s a better starting point for any new year…or new day.

The fact is, our words and our intentions carry us only a short distance because that which drags us down is not lack of resolution, but an unclean heart. And what does that mean? Really, it’s pretty simple. Look at each of the 10 Commandments. Consider the Golden Rule. Now dig deeper into the spiritual meaning of each one – murder is the outward manifestation, but heart-hate is the actual sin-fountain. Tiger Woods may have committed multiple acts of adultery, but heart-lust stirs constantly within us all. And how often do we choose our own short-term pleasure over the good of others?

And that’s just the “horizontal” element (human-to-human). When you consider the charge to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength – who can live up to that?

I’ve resolved to be and do better a million times. Not that that’s wrong, but I need something much deeper. A clean heart. And I cannot give it to myself.

Just as a patient with a failing heart has no spare organ for self-transplant, nor the wherewithal to perform the operation, so we cannot give ourselves a new heart. Which is why David, the sinner-psalmist, pleads: Create in me a clean heart, O God. I need a new creative work – an operation – performed on me, by the only Physician who can re-make hearts.

Now, of course, if God is not real, or not in the merciful business of new-heart-creation, then all such hopes are in vain. Every account of His creative power, every psalm of dependence and adoration, every deliverance and miracle and resurrection must be ephemeral fantasies. Except they’re not. They are real, because God is real. And God’s primary business is not helping those who help themselves. It’s rescuing the helpless.

By, first and foremost, imparting clean hearts. That’s how to start your new year, your new day, and your new life.

————-

Connect with Steve Woodruff

Twitter: @swoodruff

Subscribe to Steve’s Leaves via RSS or e-mail

Read Full Post »