What it takes

Did you ever wonder what it takes to be a good parent, spouse, friend, Christian?  Growing up in a family of 8 children I saw what it took for my parents to be good parents.  They sacrificed a great deal.  My son John exclaimed at this past Christmas dinner, "it must have been great to grow up rich like you did."   At first my Mother's reaction was to snap at him and correct him reassuring John that we did NOT grow up rich!  But then I asked him, "why would you say that we were rich Johnny, you saw the modest home we grew up in?"  He said, "well, your dad must have been rich because he had to feed all of you, buy you clothes, and he sent you all to Catholic grade school."  Little did Johnny know that Catholic grade school back then was free for must of us, we just had to pay a book bill, and clothes were handed down from one to another, but we did all get a new pair of shoes each year for school.  My dad used to go to the butcher and bring home sides of beef that my sisters would cut and hand wrap to save money.  Things were definitely different back then.  But Johnny's observation is a good one (he is a very smart boy!).  It got me thinking, what does it take today for us to be good parents, and how come I grew up in 2 bedroom bungalow with one bathroom and I felt as rich as I do now living in my 4 bedroom colonial with 4 bathrooms?

What makes us rich?  What makes us good parents, siblings, friends, Christians?  Is it how we spend our money?  Is it where we live?  Is it who we associate with? Or is it something else?  Of course my faith was formed many years ago in that old neighborhood I grew up in but I cant say it was the area.  In fact, so many of the kids from my neighborhood (and Catholic school) grew up and have little or no faith at all.  Was it my family?  Sure, that was a big part of my formation but not all my siblings practice their faith either.  Does faith even have anything to do with it? I'm not really sure to tell you the truth.  In fact, some of the nicest people I know are atheists and some of the most nasty people I have ever met are "Christians."  So if it's not our families, or our friends or even our faith, then how can we find the recipe for success?  What can and should we do so that when we look back on our lives we have little or no regrets?  Can one truly be rich without money?  My son sure thought so.  Maybe Johnny is on to something.  Maybe Johnny saw a huge family gathered around a dinner table telling old stories and laughing with each other and thought, 'wow, I hope I am rich someday like my aunts and uncles are now!'  

I think it takes great perserverance and a forgiving heart to be rich later on.  So many times the people who were gathered around that happy Christmas table hurt one another.  I remember the dragout fights we would have where we would literally beat the heck out of each other!  I remember the incredibly hurtful things people I have called my friends have said and done to me, and I remember being beat down so low that I was sure there was no hope of getting back up.  All that being said, I am happy that my family has forgiven me for anything I have done to them and I am happy I have forgiven them.  I am blessed to still have the handful of good friends I have today even though we have not always been good to each other, and I very happy that God allows us to grieve.  After we enter and go through the grieving process, God promises us a brighter day!  

I had the pleasure of hearing Joyce Meyer, the TV evangelist speak about her life once.  She said that for 10 years her father sexually abused her, and although she could not fathom why this person she loved and trusted would hurt her so bad, she prayed day and night for his soul and for God to rescue her.  She never gave up hope in Jesus.  After many, many years, Jesus answered her prayer and she was rescued from her abuser and has been able to forgive him in her heart.  Today, she is the most widely known spiritual speaker on television and in print.  Her message of hope is told day after day and week after week.  After the darkness, God rewarded Joyce for her forgiving heart and perserverance.  

I believe that is what it takes. After our discussion at the Christmas dinner table with Johnny, my Mom ended the conversation with, "I guess we were rich!"  


  1. I agree, perserverance and a forgiving heart is indeed what it takes to be a good everything, friend, parent, spouse, friend and Christian!

  2. Hi Lindi, I looked at your blog and your photos are so beautiful! You have a real gift! Thanks for reading my blog. Joyce


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