Dad infused his spirituality with a "waste not, want not" attitude. He enjoyed fully and gave thanks daily for the wonders of God's grace: from the amazing view at the top of a hill, birds he could name by the dozen, a savory cookie made by a dear friend or daughter, a good cigar with his sons, ribs with a friend. He understood these to be blessings, each and every one.
My father's devotion to the teachings of the Catholic church were everywhere present in his daily actions. Perhaps this devotion was both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. It certainly was his greatest struggle. Catholic doctrine seems to have played some role in his troubled relationship with women. With daily reflection, prayer, and thoughtfulness, he tried to do unto to others, to find peace, to let go of the things he could not control, to accept those things beyond his control, to forgive, and to figure out how to love women. The more I reflect on his life and the meaning it has for me, the more I begin to make sense of his struggle.
Just before his stroke, my father, perhaps knowing his time on this earth was short, asked me what it was he taught us kids. I reassured him he had taught us much. But taking Mathew 7.7 together with my dad's waste-not-want-not attitude, I begin to see the path my father took as he asked and received, sought and found, knocked and entered:
- Waste not the opportunity to walk in the light of God, and you shall not want for the light of The Lord.
- Waste not the chance to tell someone what he or she means to you and you will not want for meaningful relationships.
- Waste not the blessings The Lord has given you, and you shall not want to know the Lord's blessings.
- Waste not the opening to encourage others, to help them find their ways, to support others in times of need, and want not the comfort of The Lord in your times of need.
- Waste not time to give thanks to The Lord, and you will have much to be thankful for.
- Waste not the gestures of love and sharing, and God's love will be shared within your gestures.