As sad as things feel right now, I'm noticing that working to remember what's good, decent, interesting, meaningful and loving brings us some much needed comfort. Dad has always been one who does that for me, so today's essay jumped in front of me. As I began to put these words in place, it seemed almost obvious that what I need (what I'd like to write about) is what I know. And I may not know much about many things, but I know A LOT about this guy named Pop.
So here, my friends, are some things I KNOW. Just thinking about them is making me smile, and smiling is bringing me some comfort.
I KNOW that as long as I live on this earth, I will not have a warm sweater or jacket in a cold restaurant if my father is with me. I've come to terms with this. I know it to be true. He spent the first half of my life, urging me to 'bring along a jacket in case it gets cold' and for reasons I can't explain, I know that he will continue to catch me without said warmth.
I KNOW that there is such a thing as a happy medium (and I KNOW that I don't find it often). I know because of Pop. My Dad has a hold on moderation unlike anyone I've ever known. He get's it! I'm amazed by his understanding of the happy medium, keeping things in perspective and moderation! I want his ability to find this perch between too much and not enough. For my 48 years, though, I've just watched in amazement.
He can take a nap that is just the right length. It makes him feel better! He doesn't stay asleep for four hours, waking up in misery, or rest nervously, only to get agitated. He can eat a sinful dessert, just enjoying enough to get the taste and not so much he feels like he needs to be rolled away with the rest of us. He can read a great book, but put it down when it's time to get some sleep. What's that like? I can't imagine, but I KNOW it's possible, as I've watched it in action all of my life.
I KNOW that at any point, in any place, during any event, with any circumstances, my father would find me and meet me where I am. I've always known it. Pretty wonderful, huh? I write this as a serious point, and I'm a different person for knowing this down in my soul, but we have laughed many times about the ways that Dad can find us in any situation.
There are 92,746 seats in Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. It's a big place. Please believe me when I tell you that once, at a UGA game, my father sat on one side of that giant arena and found me on the other side, in the middle of 92 other thousands of people! He had no idea where I was, but was sure I was at the game, and he found me! He's like that. He is like a mother bear in that way. He know's where his kids are, physically and emotionally, and he gets there when we need him.
I KNOW that truly listening and hearing people is a gift. I've been heard, and I know this is true. My Dad hears the people around him. He listens and he hears us. I can think of no greater gift, and I will forever try to be the listener he is. Most of us are busy. Life is complicated. We hear too much chatter; too much distraction. It's hard to really listen and difficult to really hear the ones we love. It's hard to know people.
My Dad knows people, and all of my life, I have watched the gift that his listening has brought to the people in his life. He is who I watch to learn how to listen . . . how to hear . . . and how to really know folks. I'm working on it, and probably will be for a long time to come, but I've got the best teacher ever. Listening is a gift and I know that my Dad gives it freely wherever he goes. This I know.
The world is crazy. Things are hard to understand. I don't know a lot.
These are some things I know, though, to be sure. It makes me feel better to think about them.
What do you know?