Hiking with My Dad

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“A good companion shortens the longest road.” – Proverb

Yesterday, I took full advantage of the unexpected fall like conditions and went for a hike; a place I spent almost every day during my unemployment stint. The trails were full of people, some traveling alone with just an Ipod and some with 2 legged as well as 4 legged companions.

Warner Woods Trail 2.5 Loop

About half way through my hike, I came up on a Dad and his two children. I actually startled the small boy as I heard him say, “Dad someone is behind me!” as he scurried off to catch up with him.  I overheard his older sister ask, “Who put the acorns on the trees?” So, they stopped so he could answer her question.

I couldn’t help but get caught up in “their” moment. I did not have experiences like that with my dad. I would have thoroughly enjoyed going on hikes with him or participating or sharing whatever gave me joy.

But the walk I am on today, I know that I am not alone. God is right there with me enjoying Mumford and Sons Pandora radio and waiting for the questions (like “Why am I still single??”) that plague my mind.

My niece in Gatlinburg with her Dad 🙂

Although I’m self-sufficient and can walk on my own two feet, I’d like to think that when I go hiking with my Dad, He sits me up on His shoulders, lightening the load, all while I’m asking “Who put the acorns on the trees?” 🙂

The Missing Piece

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On the weekends, my cousin Shelly and I spent time with our maternal great-grandmother, Memaw Bertha as we called her 🙂 We were spoiled with trips to McDonald’s or Burglar Chef (as she called it – she could never pronounce anything, bless her heart) and our favorite all time place, Wal-Mart. Memaw and Papaw Wallace (my treasure also known as my step great-grandfather) treated us to lunch and then let us pick out something at the store. It was the highlight of our weekend.

Memaw was very fond of working puzzles – a love I have still to this day. Her dining room table was designated for working puzzles as opposed to eating. I mean we really did not need a place to eat as we were so full from our happy meals 🙂

Memaw did not work on 50 to 100 piece puzzles either. She worked on 500 to 1000 piece puzzles. And there I would be, sitting on my legs in a chair, so I could watch and help. There were so many tiny little pieces and it would take hours almost days to complete.

The more puzzles I worked, the better I became. I picked up on the strategies for working puzzles; work the outside edge first, sort pieces by color, feel the shapes, and move the pieces around until you find the place where it fits. There was nothing more satisfying than to place the last piece and see your crafted masterpiece.

For the majority of my life, I have waited for “someone” to recognize me and all the unfair events in my life. Sure, I have had people tell me how sorry they were for what had happened and listened and provided support during my trying times, but it just did not completely satisfy. It was almost as if it was a topical cream applied to the surface of my wounded heart. Nothing ever truly healed the deep-rooted wound I carried around for 30+ years.

But this past Sunday and last night (Wednesday) at Church, my Pastor said something so profound and through him, the Lord spoke directly to me. The Lord recognized and publicly acknowledged all that had happened to me and I have never been the same.

Photo credit – justtgod.wordpress.com

It was as if that missing piece of my mended heart could only be placed by God, the One who heals, the One who saves, the One who redeems.

I feel complete, I feel whole, and I feel redeemed.

All the years of searching and looking for “someone” to validate me are finally over. The past has been sealed with the missing piece and a new life awaits. Words will never truly describe this feeling, but I will say that it is amazing. It is freeing.

Someone of you may not understand, but I’m pretty confident that some of you do. There is a piece that is missing and you have spent your whole life searching for it, only to come up empty.

If you allow the One to work the pieces, feel the shapes, and place that missing piece, you will become the beautiful masterpiece He envisioned all along and you will never be the same.

The Grace Giver

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“If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them.” – Francis Bacon, Sr.

One of the details of my job as an assessment editor is to collaborate with a group of 9 teachers from various parts of the country to develop items for the next generation assessments. The window to work with the teachers is very small. I have about 6 weeks total to train them on what the assessments should look like, develop them as item writers, and train them how to enter their items into my company’s internal system as well as review/critique/accept their work.

I have one teacher in particular who is not so tech savvy. She can never figure out how to attend our online meetings (webex), she can never figure out how to call into the conference calls, and today I have discovered that she will not be the so-called “expert” of item entry.

Her lack of knowledge takes a toll on me. It interrupts my work flow, it puts more of a burden on me. As she continues to asks questions, sometimes the same ones, I begin to tense up. I think to myself, “why is she not getting this??” I have explained this or shown her how to do this time and time again.

Then my thoughts turn inward. Is this how God reacts towards me? Does He get a bit irritated when I cannot get it right the first time and I require Him to help me time and time again?

Considering my track record, I’m pretty sure the answer is no.

Just as I require a lot of grace in the areas of my weaknesses, this teacher will too. I can continue in frustration or I can be a grace giver and step in and help in her area of need.

The choice is simple, really. Do I want to give up something that I have to make life easier for another?

It’s a choice. Yes or No.

So, what kinds of choices have you made today?