What Our Boys Need in This Economy Their Dads Work In

Dear Future Men of ours:

The flyers are all coming through here this week, everybody looking for something to buy for Father’s Day.

I see you four boys flipping through the glossy ads about Dads.

I see you four sons of ours trying to figure out how to be men, about how to live in this economy that your Dad works in.

And I pray about what kind of men you will be in a world that too often says you will have to buy more, climb higher, be bigger.

Please hear me and don’t ever think otherwise:

You are rich when you’re content with a life full of things that money can’t buy.

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Think about that, son, carry that:

You’ve arrived at wealth when you’re happy with a life that has a wealth of things that money can’t buy.

Don’t ever confuse these two things: how you make a living and how you make a life.

Don’t ever forget the words I read in an old dad’s writing once: “If you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.”

Yeah, there are thousands of people out there trying to make a living. But you are the only person alive who is in the skin of your life. Your actual life. Your one and only life. Not just your life getting out the door, not just your life trying to get ahead. Not just the life that you think — but the life that you feel. The life of your soul.

Productivity experts don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a life plan than to craft a soul. But life goals can be pretty sterile, cold comfort when you look in the mirror somewhere in middle age and your own hollow eyes look back at you, when the doctor calls you in for the test results and tells you it doesn’t look good and you wonder if any of what you’ve been chasing after has really been good enough?

No one is really good at their work —  if their work is all they are.

So maybe this is what matters: Get a life — and the only way to really get a life — is by giving away the one you have.

Sons, get a real life —not some driven lunge for more recognition, not some manic push for a bigger bank account, or not some wild grasp for more status. Because none of that will matter tomorrow morning if your head explodes with this pain that turns out to be in an operable brain tumor. None of that will matter tomorrow if you turn left at the end of corner of Main and West and are hit head-on or your kid or your lover or your mom gets air lifted with an aneurism that has erupted throughout the winding grey matter of her brain.

What will matter is that today you get a life.

Get a life — by giving away the one you have.

Get a life in which you give. God said, “Let us make man in our image” — you were not made to be one — you were made in the image of God who is Three in One. You were made in His image, you were made to be in community — you were made to be in giving relationship.

Relationship is the only real reality.

Sit with someone old and etched with time and unwrap their impossible story and listen to babies laughing down at the store and go to the park and watch kids swing up into the sky and do it too and breathe deep because you are alive.

Take time to take a walk in the woods. Take time to do unlikely and loveliest things because time is offering itself to you for the takinglike a gift.

Take time to sit under a tree with someone you love and don’t hurry on. The hurry will make you hurt, the speed of things will make you sick. Take time everyday to go slow enough to get a life — and you don’t get a life by ordering something for next day delivery, you don’t get a life by striving up some ladder, you don’t get a life by trying to win some imaginary competition of who is better.

You get a life by slowing and going lower and stilling long enough to see and serve the least of these. The greatest men are the men serving greatly.

The richest life is always found in the humblest place.

It’s not what you do every now & then, but what you do everyday that changes everything.

Daily disciplines are doors to full freedom.

Everyday take time. Everyday take time to feel the sun and the wind and the rain and feel that you are loved — and then let your life overflow with that love so that a thousand others feel that love. Ever day take time to live loved — and live so others feel loved. Every day take time. Time is there for the taking. For the unwrapping.

There are only so many summers in a life.

Run through water sprinklers and touch someone and learn how to belly laugh — practice belly laughing every day. This is a way to practice your faith.

Get a life by giving yours away. Don’t let a week go by until you make one new friend just by saying Hi. Pull over and pick roadside daisies and give them to the lady running the drive-through and look up at a full moon hanging pearly white in a black sky and the kingdom heaven is like that — go sell everything, leave everything, change everything, just to get that pearl of great price.

Seek out people to love and let them love you and you love them.

Love is not a leisurely pastime — love is giving your time to surely suffer.

And it’s the art of loving that will be the one great work of your life.

So get a life by living generous, get a life by taking nothing for granted but by taking everything as gift. Listen to the longing wind in the trees. Show up with a coffee (or dinner) on someone’s doorstep today. Love redemption enough in your own life that you love redemption enough for everyone.

Give someone the gift of listening… linger and look into their eyes and really listen and this is free and nobody can buy it and what is better than paying attention to someone with all of you fully present?

That is all, four sons, our four future men:

Doing well in life is simple as seeing God is good — and spreading His goodness around.

Go live well, future men of ours: 

You’ve arrived at wealth when you’re happy with a life that has a wealth of things that money can’t buy.

You don’t need the ads, boys —

Just go hug your dad, one of those men who lives the wealth of sacrifice, the richest life of daily giving away their lives in God’s economy of all this  unexpected grace.

 

Related: 
How to be the Parent You Want to Be: 40 Things a Child needs to know Before they Leave Home

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