Think on These Things

This morning at church, Tony spoke from Philippians 4:8, and that took me back to I time I heard my Daddy quote it in a way I’ll never forget.

So, my Daddy was a scientist. As with most cerebral people, it goes without saying that he was a quiet man by nature.  True to his job, he didn’t deal with emotions very much, but he carried a slide rule in his pocket (you younger folks may have to Google that) and he could whip out an impossible calculation without any effort at all.

That’s not to say he didn’t love and cherish me.  Somehow I got that, but I knew also that he wasn’t the one to run to for the cuddles or the ooh’s and ahh’s.

So imagine my surprise one day when I overheard him teaching a Sunday School class (not sure if Google will help you here).  I was about 8 or 9 and our church’s sanctuary … yes, it was a “sanctuary” back then and not an auditorium; but I won’t go there … anyway, at precisely 9:45, before the 10:30 Worship, it became the Sunday School for the entire church, children and adults alike, thanks to a few well-placed fabric dividers. We couldn’t see each other, but with a little “selective listening”, you could certainly hear everything.

So let’s ‘flash back’ a bit.  The reason I was sitting in this ‘Sunday School’ class in Evergreen, Colorado was that, even though I was being raised in a Christian home, my Daddy had a past.

During the war, he, the oldest of 4 boys to a widowed mother, went off to do his duty. As per his personality, he carried a lot of burden and responsibility both for himself and the family, and now for his country.   As he left that night, he commissioned his next younger brother to “watch over” his fiancée in his absence.

Now you’ve probably watched enough television soap operas to guess what happened.  When Daddy came home after faithfully serving his country, he was met by his brother, and his brother’s new wife;……the same girl who, when Daddy  left home, had been his fiancée.

Fortunately, he didn’t even have to unpack his duffel bag before he headed out that same night, heading thousands of miles away to finally arrive in Colorado.

Years passed, he married, and I came along.  That Sunday morning in Evergreen, through the divider curtain, I heard my quiet and reserved Daddy say this:

“When I came to Colorado, I had murder on my mind.  Sometimes I would be so consumed with anger I didn’t know what to do, but then I came across this passage in the Bible, Philippians 4:8.” Then I heard the flutter of Bibles in the circle as he began to read the Scripture.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

And then he concluded, “Whenever my anger would rise up, I’d force myself to think of my daughter Marsha”  (I would have only been a baby back then, because when he was now telling this, he and his brother and the whole family had finally been reconciled).

Even these years later it’s hard to really describe how those few words impacted my life.  To hear my dearly loved father, whom to my knowledge had never even voiced out loud that he loved me, say THIS about me.  To be described as ‘pure, lovely and praiseworthy’ made me want to honor that trust and dedicate my life to stretching beyond myself to live up to be what he thought of me.

Tony concluded this morning by reminding everyone that this is not rocket science, even though if it had been, my Daddy probably could have understood it sooner than he did. The command in that Scripture is not to weigh it, filter it, measure it or write a thesis about it. It’s simply to THINK about it. And when we do that, we’ll be better people for it.
Isn’t it amazing what the power of words can accomplish?  Isn’t it amazing what YOU can do with a few words, well-placed. Think about it.

I think about you and your wonderful qualities that you have as I’m writing this.  It makes me happy.


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