Somehow, it’s Father’s Day this coming Sunday. Yep – much like this entire year-to-date, time is absolutely flying by at mach 10.
And it’s yet another reminder that…I’m away from home.
I haven’t written much about this topic, because frankly, when you’ve got no other options, the best thing you can do is buckle your chin strap, put your head down, and just get through it.
From the pandemic, to the riots, and now back to the pandemic – it’s been impossible to escape Manhattan — with flying posing a real health risk, driving ten hours alone having not driven significantly in 7 years seeming unwise, and not to mention the threat of carrying something home to my parents.
In a word, I’ve been stuck.
Sure, my mom was ready at the drop of a hat to get in the car and drive out and get me — but that also posed the threat of exposure to COVID19.
And sure, I had a gentleman who was willing to not only give me his car, but personally drive me to Ohio just to “spend time together.”
But somehow, here we are in June, and I haven’t seen my family in nearly six months. And I miss them terribly.
And Father’s Day is yet another reminder that…we’re not together.
My dad is the best man I know. Period. A pillar of strength and character — not only in our family, but the community, too.
And his insights and advice is second to none. Even my friends go to him when they need life advice, relationship advice, career advice. He should seriously consider charging a fee.
But there’s been one piece of advice that he’s repeated over and over these last months during the pandemic.
I’d often call him stressed about this or that — from health anxieties, to worries about the economy, to matters of faith, to advice about relationships — and his mantra of quarantine has been: control what you can control.
As a former perfectionist, you could say that I’m pretty particular. Maybe you can relate. But I like things a certain way. From my schedule, to the cleanliness of my apartment, to my style, heck – even to my groceries.
So to say that the shutdown really threw me for a loop, would be quite the understatement.
Control what you can control.
And I’ve come to realize, that….at the end of the day…there’s truthfully not much that I can actually control.
I can’t control the coronavirus, or how the country/NYC reopens and the precautions it takes. I can’t control the state of the economy, or the jobs I’ve lost due to the pandemic. I can’t control the unrest in our streets, or the injustice being fought against. And I certainly can’t control other people and their feelings.
And you know what?
Control what you can control …
But the more I think about it, there’s a phrase missing from that sentence, that perhaps my dad purposely omitted, so that I could discover it for myself.
Control what you can control…and let God do the rest.
Because that’s the thing. The truth of the matter is that we’re not actually the ones in control: God is.
And He is going to bring to fruition exactly the plan He has prepared for you and me.
He’s going to guide us precisely where we’re meant to go.
Sure we may not understand it. Sure we may be confused why we’ve had to face struggles, why we’ve lost loved ones, why we’ve lost jobs and financial stability, thanks to a stupid virus that brought the world to its knees.
But God is in control, and the lessons and perspective we are gaining through all of this will contribute to our personal formation, in becoming the person God created us to be.
The person with depth. Perspective. Compassion. Understanding. Gratitude and appreciation. Humility. Drive.
Those are things you cannot teach, nor can they be learned from a cushy, sheltered life.
Control what you can control…and let God do the rest.
So today, right now, what I can control is: doing my work. Nourishing my body and staying healthy. Communicating with the people I care about. Pursuing a relationship with Christ. And surrendering everything else to the One who has a plan of goodness and abundance for me.
So dad, Happy Father’s Day to the man who has shown me, every day, what men are capable of. Thank you for loving me in a way that mirrors God’s love for me. For showing me every. single. day. what it means to be protected – what it means to be cherished – what it means to be cared for – what it means to be loved.
Dad, you’re my hero. And I love you so much.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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