Raise your hand if you knew what you wanted to do when you headed into college.
(Admit it. Some of you started to raise your hand.)
I wasn’t among you lucky ducks that had it all figured out. In fact, I wasn’t sure I wanted to figure it out, at all. I just knew that there were parties to attend “in college” where there was no curfew, and no one would be waiting for you to get home to make sure you hadn’t broken any rules.
I never did, of course.
Except that one time.
And I never looked at wine coolers the same way again.
Ahab had a way of exacting discipline that involved no hands and no harsh words at all. Just a lesson.
And you learned it!
Oh, yes you did.
In fact, the wine cooler lesson was a doozy. At a ripe age, below the legal drinking one, I decided to imbibe. It was a Friday night and I always followed the rules. But, not this time! Oh no! I was gonna cut loose and live it up.
Except, I forgot that Ahab and I had planned a special father-daugher reef dive for that following Saturday morning.
And, if you’ve ever read any Ahab stories, you already know that means we were to be up and attem’ at an ungodly early hour.
Also, that you stick to a plan, come hell or high water. And sometimes, it was only the high water that kept us from keeping it.
So, as I unlocked the door an hour later than curfew, clearly smelling of rule-breaking-behavior, he had only one question.
“Is your alarm set?”
I’m fairly certain that his eyes had a twinkle in them as he asked.
“I’m not sure I’ll be up for getting up at 5:30 tomorrow morning, Dad,” I warned him.
“Oh, you’ll be up,” he promised.
And that’s how it rolled.
As well as my stomach.
Every foot of boat chop that we pounded across that morning, on the way out to our dive spot, my stomach railed at me for the previous night’s activity. And he knew it.
But I can assure you – the lesson sank in.
Parenting is not for the faint of heart. I remember hearing that once or a thousand times.
And God parents me much the same way that Ahab did. He loves me despite. He disciplines me even when it’s going to hurt him to see me in pain far more than it will hurt me to be disciplined.
And He gives.
Knowing that I can never give back as much. And that sometimes, I won’t even remember to give thanks.
Today, though, I find myself grateful.
Grateful for the grace galore that He heaps on me.
Grateful for another day to get up and breathe deeply and commit my way to Him.
And grateful for the opportunity to love my children the way He loves me.
Knowing, of course, that when I fail – because, I will – there will always be more grace waiting for me.