Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Honor thy father and thy mother

Today is my birthday.

I can think of no more appropriate way to celebrate this day than by publicly doing that which none of us do enough:

Thanks Mom and Dad. Not only were you used by God to give me life, but by your character you shaped who I am.

Mom, you taught me what it is to approach the world with wonder and excitement, as though every day and experience were an adventure. You taught me to laugh, to think of other people, and to be spontaneous. From you I learned a love of the earth, a delight in the wonders of creation, a joy in the arts, and whatever conversational skills I have.

Dad, you showed me what it was to be strong, to be diligent, to get a job done. Anything I've learned about being a gentleman comes from your propriety, warmth, and graciousness. When I've had to show backbone in confrontation, it was your steel that gave me courage. You have taught me what it means to show respect and to give back to the community.

Both of you have taught me faith by example -- by your service, by quiet acts of kindness (yes, the stories come back to me, even though you did kindnesses behind the scenes), by your well-worn bibles and devotionals, and by the times I came across you reading them in the early morning or late at night. You taught me faith by making sure I was in church almost every Sunday and by letting me rub up against a lot of other people of faith. You gave me room to learn faith for myself, but kept Christ before me in so many ways.

You taught me about friendships through your loyalty and willingness to be there for your friends. You've shown me the value of hospitality -- opening our home to friends passing through and to friends for meals and fellowship. Your wide circle of friends -- all of them distinctive characters and individuals with color and opinion and verve -- has taught me that people are both fascinating and a little maddening, and we can enjoy friendship even in the face of difference.

You've taught me that the whole world is fascinating -- your wide array of interests has provided me a fullness of experience that I treasure. You came to every play or concert I performed in. You watched soccer games, track meets, and church basketball games. You bear patiently with my scatterbrainedness and you have been consistent encouragers.

And so, I want you to know that I am thankful for you -- and I am proud of you (hence the reason I put this on the blog -- for I want it publicly known that you have been very good parents). Today is my birthday -- and I thank you for your role in making me who I am.

I love you both,

Wheet - ting