It was a joy to see the sun again in Houston today. After a rainy and sometimes flooded week, a bright clear sky was a joy to behold. (If you don't follow Texas news, the Gulf Coast was deluged recently, particularly Wednesday, which resulted in our starting school at 10 AM instead of 7:40.) But this afternoon was gorgeous. I spent two hours at a rehab nursing home visiting with friends of my folks from my hometown in Nebraska. He fell during Labor Day weekend and suffered a head injury. She is by his side as he is fighting to regain his speech and normalcy in both of their lives. Their daughters collectively have pooled their vast talents to get the best care possible for their dad and displaying how a family works to protect their own. We talked about my life and theirs and all the common memories we shared. I could tell he knows exactly wants to say but the getting the words out hasn't come back yet. Lord willing, it will. Please keep this precious couple and their offspring in your prayers.
As I was leaving the facility, which took some time as the halls resembled a maze, I stepped aside at the front entrance as two men entered together. Actually, one was slightly ahead of the other as the mid sixty year old man pushed his father, probably close to ninety, in a wheelchair. Obviously, son had taken dad out for a stroll in the wonderful weather. The son noticed my blue and gold t-shirt and remarked, "Westbury Christian- great school!" I agreed and told him I teach and coach at WCS. I wish I had also told him how much I appreciated his care for the man who helped give him life. You see, I can't do that for my dad anymore.
As I drove away wistfully, I headed to the fitness center for my afternoon swim. Walking into the pool area after changing, I saw a little boy delighting in his swimming lessons in the shallow end. After finishing my workout, I retraced my steps into the locker room to shower and change. While dressing, the child and his dad came in. My guess is he is three and they are Asian American. As the would be swimmer was sporting a TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLE t-shirt, I inquired as to which turtle he was while complimenting his aquatic skills. The father helped him answer and as they left, my new buddy waved at me. When I walked to my car, I saw them once more. The father was strapping his youngster into the child seat to abide by the law and to ensure his safety. That's what dads do, at least good ones.
The role reversal hit me just like it always does. The father takes care of the son who in the long distant future will protect his dad. I remember when Grandpa Hawley came to live with us in Nebraska after Grandma died and how much I admired Dad for looking after his dad. It didn't hit me that someday that I and my siblings would be thrust into that responsibility for both our parents. Not everyone is so blessed. We all know cases where the little children are neglected and and the elderly are alone, if not abandoned. It was never meant to be that way. The family unit was set up in the Garden of Eden by God Almighty. But sin expelled humanity into the dangerous realms outside Paradise and it's been a struggle from that very instant. But in our better moments, we remember we are connected to each other and specifically to a closer subset through mutual DNA and common blood. If that link breaks down, heaven forbid, our societies and our cultures are on the brink of destruction. And tonight, I find myself missing Mom and Dad
Applicable quote of the day:
"When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry."
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