The lessons that I learned from my dad at a place we called the “Dead End Road” are timeless lessons that are easily transferred into my everyday life. They are treasures really. Treasures that have lifelong dividends. Experiencing the unconditional love of my earthly dad at the Dead End Road, has made it easier for me to accept and understand the unconditional love and close relationship I have with my Heavenly Father. I know I was not worthy of Dad’s love. There were many times I was not thankful, not obedient, and not loving toward my Dad. I had a lot to learn! He encouraged me; he had unconditional love for me; he was patient; and he was a great mentor. I did not deserve everything he did for me but he was my dad and dad’s are to love their children. Mine did! I am both fortunate and unique to have had this kind of relationship with my dad. Obviously, it is not the norm. Many of my friends, who are now grown men, have told me horror stories about growing up under the authority of unloving dads. Some were beaten down with sarcasm, constant name calling and put downs. Still others have told me of dads with addictive behaviors, insecurities, and extreme anger issues. These friends seem like little boys in men’s bodies. They have been crippled for life because they had inadequate and unhealthy relationships with their dads. They regret not having a closeness with their dad and it continues to be a great loss for them. They suffer from feelings of not quite measuring up and they are haunted by not hearing their dad say, “I’m proud of you son.” They seem to be held back with mental pictures of less than fulfilling childhood relationships with their dad. My childhood was fabulous, my parents loved each other, they were life partners, and I knew they loved me. I know that I have been blessed. It is not something I deserved but I am thankful for it.
At the age of twelve I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I did this after my best friend had drowned in a local farm pond. The day Jesus became my Savior it was as if a river of life began flowing inside of me. I was more attentive to the good things in life, more thankful for the things most important, and had a new zeal for living life to the full and more aware of how I needed to live life. The river of life that is within has striking similarities to the little river located at the Dead End Road. The Dead End Road was significant because of that little river bubbling with life, love and hope. The experiences I had at the Dead End Road and my experiences as a born again Christian, often intersect with wonderful parallelism. Along the banks of this river were challenges, exciting adventures and lessons to be learned. The river was a playground, and a classroom. It was a workbench and an artist’s canvas. There were surprises, opportunity, challenges, adventure and even danger. There were winding paths and straight paths; narrow ways and wide ways; crystal clear ways and foggy trails. Some paths seemed well traveled while others seemed like they were impassable. There were obstacles, thorns and thistles, rocks and slippery slopes along the way. The river was both deep and shallow. Time seemed to stand still and and, at other times, seemed to race as I experienced the river with dad. When it was time for dad and I to leave the Dead End Road and go home, I always had mixed emotion. I wanted to stay and I wanted to go home. Time seemed to slip by as quickly as the shadows of the night. The Dead End Road is a place where a boy and his father became similar. Much of my Father lives in me and I am certainly like him. His teachings have fallen on fertile soil. His kindness made a permanent mark on my soul. Much of what he taught me, I have passed on to my children and grandchildren.
As for now, I continue to abide in Christ and I am being transformed into His likeness. My Christian life is much like my Dead End Road experiences. I have learned that Jesus loves me with an unconditional love. I am not worthy of His love but He has taught me I am worthwhile as His creation. His words encourage me and they fall upon the fertile soil of my heart and change me from the inside out. I am not exactly like my Savior, anymore than I am exactly like my dad, but there is a resemblance that grows with every moment I spend with Him. I am so thankful for this journey called life. As daily life ticks by and heaven approaches, I feel like I did when going home from the Dead End Road. It seems to be coming so fast but Wow! Life is full. Life is abundant. Life is blossoming with beauty and hope. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Dear friend, do not miss this life! Live it to the full!