My eldest and I were working on remodeling a small home I own in Florida. Just doing all that manual labor was a reminder of how old I’ve gotten. But there were a couple of other things that accomplished that as well.
One day, we removed all the interior doors for painting. I usurped the job of removing the hardware and rolling two coats of white semi-gloss on them. It was a lot easier than what my son was doing—tearing tile walls out of the bathrooms. I’ve quickly discovered that I’m quite adept at finagling the easy tasks—particularly when there’s someone twenty-four years younger than me nearby.
“I was on a roll.”
With painting implement in hand, I merrily plowed through my undertaking. I was on a roll—literally. At one point, however, I took a short break to allow for a little drying time. As I stood to one side, my son happened to stroll by. He took a glance at one of the doors I had painted, picked up a roller, and gave it a couple of swipes. Then he placed the roller back in the pan and continued on his way.
Apparently, I had left a drip or run somewhere. I never did ask. But when he did that, I got a big smile on my face. I realized, maybe for the very first time, that the tables have been turned. Twenty or so years ago, I would have been the one smoothing over his errors. He would have been angry at me for looking over his shoulder and implying that his work was less than acceptable. For me, however, it brought joy—especially at this stage of the game.
I used to be the expert. I used to give the orders. Now, I’m the one asking the questions. I’m somewhat of a do-it-yourselfer, but he, on the other hand, does these things for other people—and gets paid. I yield to him in this arena every time. He’s the authority in this venue. I’m just the old preacher with the aching back and a little time on my hands.
“I never taught him.”
It’s gratifying to see your offspring taking the reins—particularly when they’re doing so well. It makes you feel like you did something right when they were growing up. I’m sure many of you know the feeling. Even though he’s doing something I never taught him, I like to think there’s something of me in what he does.
As an earthly father, I’m rather limited in what I can give my children. I can only teach them so much, because I only know a little. I, like the rest of the human race, have to rely on our Heavenly Father to fill in all the gaps we leave unattended. It’s comforting to know that He not only does that, He gives us more than we know to ask for. He fills us with his Spirit, and His heritage is in us. I sure can’t do that on my own.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]