Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Rebel

I took Santa Claus my dad over to the barbershop today.  He's been growing out his beard since my mother died.  Before we left, he wanted me to take a picture of the beard, because it was time to shave it off.  "Are you getting sick of it?" I asked.  He thoughtfully replied that he had been tired of it a while ago, but that since he had made his point, he could shave it off now.

As I talked to him, I learned that he had been growing the beard because my mother didn't like it.  Now that she is gone, he can grow one if he wants to.  That was the point he felt like he had to make.  He said he was a little bit of a rebel with it on.

My sweet, gentle, model-train-playing dad - a rebel?  The thought makes me smile.  But I nod my head with love and understanding because I've been a rebel, too.  After my husband, Jay, died, I did a lot of things I didn't do when he was with us.  We ordered in pizza.  We went out for dinner and ate greasy burgers at fast food joints.  I even let the boys have races up and down the hallway in the wheelchair he wouldn't let them touch.

I don't know that I was acting like that because I was angry with him, or to spite him.  It's just that when someone leaves - especially someone you have spent a lot of energy caring for - you naturally expand a little bit.  Don't we go out to dinner more after our babies are old enough to have a babysitter?  Don't we stay up a little bit later (or maybe a lot later) after we aren't under our parents' curfew?

Or maybe we are naturally a little bit rebellious.  We like to do things our own way, and chafe when we can't.  We rebel a bit against the speed limit, or the 20 items limit at the checkout, or the amount on our property tax bill, or the spouse who doesn't do things the way we like it.  And we rebel against God, by telling Him that our way of living is just fine, thankyouverymuch.

Maybe it's time to shave off the rebel beard.  Yes, I an choose what it is that I want to do each day.  My agency is one of God's greatest gifts to me.  But I can do what I do because I choose to - because I want to - instead of in reaction to anything or anyone else.

Yup, clean shaven and in full use of my own ability to choose feels real nice.  And Dad looks great, too.

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