One of the things I love about doing a podcast and weekly blog posts is the response I get from listeners and readers. Today I’m sharing an email I received from June, a podcast listener from Columbia, South Carolina.
In recent blog posts I’ve asked what listeners/readers are thankful for. So with the Thanksgiving holiday just completed, June writes about being thankful for something her father did over Thanksgiving weekend many years ago. She writes:
Dear John, I am thankful for my dad. Like Sarah from your recent podcast [Episode 205, How to Have a Meaningful Conversation
], my dad has lived a quiet life of generosity and continues to share both his time and resources with his kids and their families.
Your recent podcast episode reminded me of an example that happened back in 1994 — coincidentally, over Thanksgiving weekend.
In addition to all the ways my dad and my mom served at their church, back then my dad had an extremely busy and successful career managing a business he started. He had several employees which certainly made for exponential pressures.
But one year when I was still somewhat newly married and we had recently moved back to the city where I grew up—on the day after Thanksgiving my dad used his precious vacation day to rent a truck and then drive 500 miles round trip all by himself to pick up a used washer and dryer for my husband and me from the place we had previously lived. It was all we could afford back then.
Looking back while listening to your last episode, I wondered why my dad didn't just offer to buy us a new set so as to get out of the thankless, stressful task of driving through two large cities to pick up those two old appliances?
Surely he could have afforded to do this. Surely, this would have allowed his day after Thanksgiving to become a much needed chance to catch up on unfinished work, or better yet — spend a few hours relaxing. Surely there were 1,000 other things he would have rather been doing that day than acting as our delivery driver.
I don't even remember asking him to do this for us. Somehow, he just volunteered, and then that one important job of picking up the used washer and dryer was taken off our plates.
Maybe he realized buying us different appliances would hurt our pride. Maybe he knew it was better for us to use the old appliances we could afford, as that was a way we could feel like the young adults we were growing into becoming. Or maybe it was nothing more than he knew it was something he could do for us that would make me happy and feel his love, and that was enough to motivate him.
Whatever the reason, I am still thankful for all the other ways he's quietly helped over the years; never, ever bringing these things up again as proof to his heroics in our life.
29 years later, my dad has not changed. He is still letting me do all the things I need to do to feel like an adult. He is still flying across the country to come and visit me without complaining about how the last two tickets he could find were at the crowded row in the very back of the plane.
My dad is still paying for my lunch. He is still buying gifts for my pets. He is still available on a moment's notice to set aside his plan for that hour to listen to whatever's on my mind.
This Thanksgiving, I am grateful my two parents are still healthy enough to parent their 50-something daughter in the ways which feel most meaningful to her in her current season of life. What an example they have been to both my husband and me as we parent a son who is on the cusp of his own adulthood.
I hope that like my dad (and mom), I'm always willing to put aside my own needs to do the unsung, thankless, behind the scenes jobs that make my kid feel as ridiculously loved as I still do today by my own parents. I hope I am willing to grow and change to be whatever our son needs me to be — no matter how many years pass and miles that come between us!
Thank you for this reminder of a wonderful memory John. I wish you a Thanksgiving weekend filled with reflecting on both great memories, and time spent making newer ones with your own family—
June Cirkell, Columbia, SC
P.S. If you missed our latest podcast episode, #206, you can listen to it when you click here. It's about what I learned from “An Accidental Breakfast with an Old Man”