Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Father's Black Book

When my father passed away the hardest thing to do was to go through his keepsakes. Looking at the things that he had held on to and collected all his seventy two years of life, seemed almost like an intrusion. One of the things I found was his little black book. It was not full of old girlfriends but was filled with quick notes, sayings, and lists. He kept it when he was a young boy serving on the USS Franklin during WWII. His ship was attacked off the coast of Japan, which lead to the greatest fatality in naval history. While I can not imagine what he witnessed, felt, and lived through, this book gave me a clue. In the book was a list. One was titled: My Buddy List: which was a list of men’s names. Not one looked familiar to me. I assumed these were men my father battled for their life with, who were brave, courageous, and responded to each other in that horrific time. Then there was another list that read. My S#@T List: here was another list of men’s name that also was not familiar. This list I assumed were men who did not fall into my father’s good graces. I was happy that there were more names on the first list than the second.

But why did he keep a list? Maybe in the time of crisis, he wanted to record in a hasty way those who acted bravely so he could show his gratitude later or just recorded it in case he did not survive. He wanted to leave something that would record their acts of kindness.

In a way we keep a conscious list in our minds. We can recall with freshness everyone in our lives that have touched us, made us better, showed us kindness, and invested in our lives. Those people who really showed Christ love to us. We might not have known at the time, but they positively influenced us for a lifetime. Then we have another list, those people who have angered us, messed us over, did us wrong. We can quickly recall every one who has hurt us, caused us pain, or embarrassed us. We hold on tightly to both.

Jesus tells us that we are to not keep track of the times we are to forgive someone. He touches on the fact that our souls are cleansed when we forgive. It is not about the other person's well being but ours. Are you willing to forgive those of your past? See what Jesus tells us about the two lists. When you meet someone in crisis, which list will your name be on? Don’t wait until tomorrow to forgive or act to help someone in need. Forgiveness makes us whole and complete people as we are no longer bond by anger. Make a difference in someone’s life. I’m glad our lord does not keep such lists.

Go make a positive influence on someone’s life.



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