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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Graduation Day

I remember once a true story about a father who hinted to his teenage son that on graduation day that he might be buying him a car. That hint only got stronger when they both visited various car showrooms in the area together. On graduation day, as his son stepped beaming from the podium in front of a large crowd holding his diploma, his father pressed into his sons hand a long expected present inside a brown paper bag. Believing that the bag contained the unspoken keys to his new car, logbook and manuals, the son ripped open the brown covering. He was aghast when all he found inside was a bible. The colour drained from his face before he threw the bible to the floor and walked away. He never spoke to his father again.

The years passed and finally so did the father. The son, going through his father’s personal effects, found the same old bible in the attic. While leafing through it in remembrance of times past, a piece of paper fell from the pages. Looking at it, the son realized to his deepest horror and regret that he was staring at a cheque. It had been made out to the full amount for the purchase of a brand new car at one of the showrooms they had visited together almost forty years earlier.

The moral of this story for me was this: When we expect too much, we can become self-appointed judges dispensing forgiveness, or not, as if we really had that power and to which we don’t. Lacking understanding for when we don’t get what we want is the mindset of someone that has always got too much when they asked for it. The blunt instrument for the torture of this man’s father was guilt, and the son used every day of forty years to bludgeon him with it. And now that weapon has been turned on the son by his own hand and actions; a guilt which the son would now have to live with always facing into a very uncertain future. 

Life is too short. Speak to someone today, for the reasons why you did not speak sooner does not matter anymore.

Barry Clifford