My Dad is opposed to using the internet to communicate; he also refuses to own a smart phone, and considers texting a part of the internet. We do, however, communicate the old-fashioned way, via pen, paper, and the U.S. Postal Service.
I asked him if I could share a portion of the most recent letter I received from him, because in it my Dad offered up a part of himself to put some very real wisdom onto the pages of his letter. He said, yes, I could share his letter; so here it is:
“…Weeks pass by like days, months race by as weeks. Such is what one experiences when one reaches “senior” status. I often remember when I quit high school at sixteen years of age and one year later joined the Air Force. That period of my life was the last I recall that time moved seemingly slowly.
“I was a sibling among a family of eleven children. My Dad passed away when only four of my siblings (sisters) were adults and of working age, assisting my Mom keep our family together as well as maintaining possession of our modest four bedroom home. I was among the four oldest brothers who shared one bedroom containing two bunk beds. And, our home contained but ONE bathroom! How my Mother pulled it off and kept things together I’ll never know. My Mom began kitchen work at the local Ford plant after my Dad died and continued at the Ford kitchen until shortly before she passed away.
“My Dad died when I was thirteen years old. I quit high school at sixteen because we were so poor. I was going to work and make big dollars, which subsequently did not work out well. I was employed by a sheet metal company, an oil mist constantly in the factory air and was compensated at minimum wage. It did not take me, uneducated and semi-ignorant, long to realize I had made a serious mistake in leaving high school. Consequently, on my seventeenth birthday my Mother signed the required papers allowing me to enlist in the Air Force. I completed high school requirements (GED) while in the Air Force. After discharge I attended night school classes to meet college enrollment requirements (You usually requested of your Mom to be allowed to remain out of bed until I came home from the night classes, we would have a bite of food together before tucking you into bed and saying prayers). I graduated from Canisius College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry.
“So, what does the preceding have to do with the current price of tea in China? I’m glad you asked. Throughout my personal and business experience I have come to conclude we are never as poor as we think we are (financially and spiritually) and also of utmost importance we are never as wealthy, rich as we think we are. The latter is where so many get into trouble, over their heads financially because they are spending their future income.
Set a goal and as you approach that goal set the next goal. Don’t look up too often as you labor onwards. Keep faith in your committment and don’t be deterred in achieving your goal. Then when you reach your desired goal give thanks and recognition to those who have been of assistance and encouragement. Throughout our endeavors give thanks to God who has blessed us with faith, perseverance and success. Thus concludes sermon number (probably) one hundred thirty one.”
I have to say that I hope my Father has a couple hundred “sermons” still to tell me. I won’t, in all likelihood, share them here. But this man has been a giant in my life, and this little bit of his story, and his wisdom, seemed well worth the sharing.
I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did.