I’m sure we’ve all asked ourselves this question: Am I just like my father? But the real question is: Do we really want to know the answer?
With the passing of my 35th birthday this year, I’ve found myself reflecting back over the last several decades, the laughter and tears and the lessons I’ve learned. But I hit an interesting and scary wall: I am now the same age my parents were when I was in high school.
I know what you’re thinking, because it was what I was thinking. “Am I that old?” But then it hit me in a different way. “Were they that young?”
It’s funny—I never considered the age of my mother and father when I was growing up, and this realization has given me something to think about. See, I was used to seeing things from the perspective of “looking up” to my parents. Not necessarily meaning admiration, but rather seeing them as larger-than-life personae.
Which has brought me to an intriguing crossroad. What scale do we weigh our parents on?
In retrospect, I’m sure I could make an argument justifying any of my reactions to my parents’ shortcomings. It is perhaps a bolder step, however, to keep in mind my current state of being with all my dreams and insecurities, and take into account the general heaviness life can sometimes bring.
From that perspective, I see two young adults, just barely grown, taking on the responsibility of raising an inquisitive child and his two brothers, along with seeking out purpose and direction in life for themselves. That in and of itself seems like a nearly impossible task.
It was in considering all this that I began to realize I might be more like my father than I realized, but what did that mean for me?
So I began to ask what I should glean from my parents’ journey. Regardless of their faults or choices, good or bad, could I find wisdom and courage for moving forward?
Now to put things into perspective, I feel I should point out that I grew up in a house of vices. What those vices were are not important because they can be different for everyone, and more so I don’t want to dishonor my parents. They are still moving forward on their journey, and I pray God’s blessings over them. But what I want you to understand is that I did not have a childhood that was all sunshine and roses. My mother and father were just real people dealing with real emotions, issues and life.
Looking back now, I see I am a lot more like my father and mother than I ever would have thought. When I hit my young adult years, I had a few issues to work through. In some cases, I am still working through them. During my high school years, I’m sure my parents were in the same boat, working through their baggage left by the generation before, as my grandparents had and their parents had and so on.
Considering all this, the conclusion I’ve reached is that we all move through this life, navigating each up and down to the best of our own ability. Sometimes we hit rocks. Sometimes rocks hit us. But the ebb and flow of life is designed for one purpose—to wake us up to the revelation that each of us, in and of ourselves, has absolutely no idea what we’re doing!
So what does being like my father have to do with being single?
Well I, much like you, am still being tossed about on the sea of life, living out my epic journey of finding a spouse. And I’ve striven where I thought I should; other times, I’ve been patient. Whatever magic formulas we as a society have bought into, I’ve given a go of. And yet, here I am, still single and looking.
I’ve finally started waking up to the reality that I have no idea what I’m doing. Much like my father and mother might have made mistakes as they tried to raise me, I find myself making many more.
That’s why when I look at the scale that I weigh my parents on, I have to ask myself, how would I fare if I weighed the different areas of my life on it?
Much like my father and mother, I’m not perfect, and I need grace and mercy each day of my life. And that’s where the love of God meets us!
The idea simply makes my heart swell! Though I have faults, God’s grace and mercy is there for me. And as I realize that I’m like my father, this makes me want that much more to be like my heavenly Father.
The reality is, I believe, that we walk through life step by shaky step, and all the while, God calls us toward a destiny. That destiny is to be like him. Think of it this way: A baby learns to walk by striving toward his father, who waits with arms wide open.
So as each of us stumble about, trying to find our footing while walking out this “single” season of our lives, here are a few things to keep in mind. When it comes to mistakes, give yourself a break. You’re not making any mistake that hasn’t been made before, and when you stumble, God is always there to catch you. Next, trust in God, regardless of the outcome. Singleness is not a punishment, plague or blight! It is simply a season. Trust that God, like any good father, will make steady your steps, keeping you from choosing wrong and guiding you to the right choice. And lastly, always strive toward Father God. All the best things for your life are found in His hands.
Now maybe that sounds too hopeful, but hey, I’m just trying to be like my father!