Thursday, March 29, 2007

It's All About Questions

Last night at our weekly Bible study, one of the couples brought 2 guests with them who are staying with them this week. We had an interesting discussion centered on the question of "What is God's will for my life?" A deep, penetrating question with a lot of different answers, but which led one of the men to tell us how his life had changed after his perspective about God was changed from that of "Santa Claus," to more like a Father.

He told of his experience with his father being distant and shallow. They spent much time together, bonding in typical male ways, like camping, fishing, hunting and so on. But their talks were never deeper than those subjects, often they just chatted about the weather or their jobs or something like that. He felt the Lord impress upon his heart one day that his own relationship with his 4 adult children was turning out to be quite similiar, and that even his relationship with the Lord was at an impersonal level. He found himself asking God for things and never really going much deeper than that.

After reading a particularly helpful book on the subject of prayer, he began to experience God's love in a new way, and began to really talk with the Lord, and share his heart with Him. As he opened up with God, he saw that in the same way he needed to find a way that would help him open up with his kids, and that would allow them to really know one another in a deeper way. His idea was a newsletter. Only one of his four children live close by, the others are in different states. So he began to write his feelings down, sharing with them how God was working in his life, his struggles, his triumphs, his joys, his heartaches, his questions. As he wrote to them and opened his heart to them, they responded to him. Sometimes they call as soon as they get a letter and immediately want to discuss something important. Sometimes they write their own letters back to him. But what most appealed to me, was the idea that they now KNOW their father and what makes him tick. They have something to talk about now. They know what questions to ask him, they know how they can pray for him. This man has 3 daughters and 1 son. He told me frankly that he doesn't know what to talk about with his daughters... they have very different interests from his. So these newsletters have opened up whole new avenues of discussion that can keep the fires of communication burning.

With my mother no longer here to talk to, I spend much more time talking with my dad. There are times that our conversations seem to only be about the weather, or his job, or what's in the news. These are certainly worthy things to talk about, but it would be nice to get to know him on a more personal level. For me, it seems to be that I just don't know what questions to ask. So I asked Google.... "questions to ask your parents." I found a list of 100 questions I could ask my dad. I think some of them are kind of stupid, but some of them I really want to ask and hear the answer to. I decided to pick a few at a time and when we talk on the weekends I'll ask. I plan to write down his answers and keep them in a journal. There are lulls in conversations when a question would be perfect. There are also questions for family history interviews, which would be interesting to ask and have records of.

I realize now there are so many questions I would like to ask my mother. She isn't here anymore to answer them. I heard a song today that reminded me of her.. "Home," by Simon and Garfunkel. We had one of their records that she used to play. I don't remember being really fond of their music but when I hear it now it sure brings back memories.

"Homeward bound,
I wish I was
Homeward bound,
Home, where my thoughts escaping"

And when those memories come, I think of how she was back then. And I wish that I would have asked her more questions. "What was your biggest disappointment as a kid? What is your favorite song? What was the best thing I ever gave you?"

Instead, I'll have to ask my dad. And hope that he won't mind all the questions!

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