“Hey Dad, so did you feel good about your sermon this weekend?”
These were the words of Aly (my 12 year old) on the way to school this morning as she sat in the back seat with her sprained ankle propped up for rehabilitative elevation. She overheard a couple conversations between Heidi and I during the weekend where I was sharing that my brain wasn’t working real well and that I felt like my message was sub-par and coming out all knotted and gnarled up.
I hate when I feel like my heart isn’t connected to my brain, and my brain isn’t connected to my tongue. The transmission, regardless of what everyone else is experiencing, makes me feel like I’m herding cats in my head that are crawling up and clawing at the walls of my mind, frenzied and frenetic. It’s a nightmare for a communicator--more like a daymare (if there were such a thing).
In the early morning commute to school Aly revisited those weekend feelings. She wanted to know if I felt better about the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd service. She asked me why I felt the way I did about this weekend and sweetly tried to encourage me by saying:
“Awe dad, it wasn’t that bad!”
Somehow, her encouragement was exactly how I felt about my message: “It wasn’t that bad.”
But these scribblings aren’t about my feelings about my weekend sermon; they are about something far more valuable to me. Something that I pray for all the time. Something that I want to be an example of. Something that I value in others more than almost anything else I can think of.
I want my daughters to care about the “why behind the what”.
I want them to listen to life as it’s happening around them and inquire of things that are happening under the surface and behind the scenes. I want them to wonder (the next morning) how someone is doing. I want them to follow-up. I want them to ask people how they’re feeling about something that has happened, whether good or bad. Furthermore, I want them to keep asking the 2nd and the 3rd questions because they care about unearthing the condition of the person’s heart and the “why’s” that often hide behind the “what’s”.
I can’t tell you how beautiful it was that my daughter cared (the next morning) about “how I felt about what I felt” yesterday. As she listened and kept asking questions about why I felt the way I did, she didn’t stop asking until I satisfied her curiosity at a soul-level. Her brain would have been quite satisfied with a standard answer, but her soul needed more reasons and more feelings before it “moved on”.
As I tried to explain “why” I felt “what” I did, she eventually nodded and looked out the window. She set out on a quest with questions and reached her desired destination. This expedition is becoming more and more rare in our culture that stops at the what and cares very little about the why. It’s sad, because the why is what makes life rich and full. It’s the meaning that happens (or could happen) in a meeting. It’s the intrigue just below the fatigue. If you look at life this way, you won’t believe how many people are rarely asked, “I know what already, I wanna know why.”
What a different world we would live in. What a different relationship we would have with the people that are all around us...so close, yet so far away.