Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Day Nelson Preached (Part 2)

As the week went on, he worked on his speech every night. When I visited his home, he would read parts of it to me. He was really proud of the thoughts he put to paper. When Senior Citizens Day arrived, he was ready. He slowly got up from his spot on the pew, the place he sat every Sunday for seventy five of his ninety years, Nelson’s seat, and slowly stepped to the pulpit. He drew himself up to his full height and began to speak. “The pastor asked me to share some bits of wisdom with you today. I will begin by telling you a great secret. The secret of how I lived for 90 years. It works and I promise that if you do this simple thing, you too will live a long life.” As everyone leaned forward to hear this wonderful insight into life, my father slowly lowered his head. When he raised his eyes, there was a sparkle that I had seen many times in my life. It was there more often before my Mom died, but now it was there again. With a voice as calm and strong as any evangelist, Dad told everyone his key to life. “Always remember, breathe in after you breathe out.” The pastor and congregation began to laugh. Dad had them where he wanted. He told them all of the stories that I had grown up with. My Uncle Cecil and the bees, meeting my mother, swimming across the river with his brothers and many stories about growing up in this community spilled from my Father’s memory. The next 30 minutes flew by. When Dad finished the story of his life, there was not a dry eye in the auditorium. He walked back to his seat and calmly sat down. He leaned over to me and said in a low voice, “I know it sounded silly, but I was serious about the breathing thing. We focus on all of the things going on in our lives and forget about the gifts God has given us. The simple gift of life is the best. Don’t worry about the length of your life; it will take care of itself. Worry about the width and depth of your life. It is the only part we control.”

When things get hectic in your life, remember the words of my father on that Sunday morning. “Breathe in after you breathe out.”

1 comment:

  1. Great advice! Some days we get so stressed with life that we forget to "just breathe"