JT Weaver’s recent post “It’s Not How Much You Have,” speaks wisdom and approaches Christianity in its best form, in sharing with us a beautiful video about a poor Chinese man and his son. The son spends a young life fully ashamed of his poor father and wishes to have a richer future in monetary terms. The boy leaves to attend University at UCLA with no intention of returning to visit. The absence breaks his father’s heart. Only after the death of his father, does the young man discover his father’s secret identity and true character. There are moments of humbling in this knowledge and he is ashamed of himself and of his wrongful judging. He is ajar.
In the end, at a children’s hospital, the son, takes off fine clothes and a fool’s mindset in exchange for a simple clown costume, a genuine smile, and an overflowing heart. He memorializes his father’s life work of love in entertaining with slight of hand, clown nose, and antics. This service to small ones confined to wheelchairs brings rich returns. And so he becomes “the great man” of which his father refers to in a former note of childhood that was not then meant for him, but was meant for a crippled child at the hospital. As the son sows hope in small hearts, and restores joy to the faces of depressed children, he both internalizes and externalizes a lesson that took twenty years to learn. He learns this wisdom from a loving father: Richness comes not from what you get. It comes from what you give.
I think it is interesting that the father tells his ten-year-old son “Time to pay taxes.” This is a reference that is not normally equivocal to the giving of charity in this way. More like rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s. This is a lie maybe. Or not. Charity is the pure love of Christ. In opposition, charity can also be seen as the “welfare state.” Charity in the case of the video is the “tax money” put away in the name of the Father and of the Son…..for the children’s hospital.
Richness comes from what you give. This feels true. I wish I could see and feel this always…..in the moment of the thing…..in the potential and possibility for right response, the call for help, or the request…..in being present. I am distracted by myself and by others. Focus is key. And yet focus can be a lock and stumbling block as well. Sometimes giving feels like a sacrifice. A gift given begrudgingly is no gift at all. More a curse. A sacrifice given in love is no sacrifice at all either….more a celebration and a blessing. Must keep tabs on personal motives and expectations.
When I give in the right way, I better remember this and other holy lessons and stories. I feel the sweetness of joy. There is no doubt that this is what we are truly meant to do. The truth is….I am better at thinking about it, and writing about it, than in doing it. So I am no Saint even though I am a member of a Christian church that bears the name of Christ and Saints. I would like to think both the boy’s Fathers are smiling down on him from a high place as he follows in His Fathers’ footsteps.
How would it be to take this high road consistently with exactness and faith? Frost speaks of “The Road Not Taken.” I know this road, and other roads taken and regretted. Choices make all the difference. Love makes all the difference.
A preacher on a blog called The River Walk talks about John 4:4-6….and how Jesus took “A Different Road” in taking a divergent path through Samaria…because he was compelled by love. One can not go wrong when compelled by the love of Jesus, a pure love for others. Sometimes we wander in taking a misguided straight path in our own self righteousness, rather than taking the twisting one. The Spirit will guide as it listeth.
The video is powerful in that it makes one search the inner workings of the heart and soul. The cogs and springs of our analogue time here on Earth. Our windings. Or maybe it drags one down to guilt and regret. But don’t stay there! I think it was meant to lift thoughts to higher, away from low things to holier…..compelling one to better and greater good. We are meant to have and to live an amazing life!
The video and JT Weaver, also make me think about how I have thought of my parents for these almost 50 years. This perception has changed as I have sometimes matured and the framework is still in flux. There is so much I do not know, nor will I ever know about so many things, and about these people who bore me and whom I was close to. That is why I want my mother’s journals. I know that even in my reading of them, things will be lost in the translation. Discernment will be crucial. At least it will be a start to the continuation of understanding her…..and in understanding the person I may have become. Perhaps I will better empathize with her realities and mental states. Perhaps I will find insight into my own. Perhaps her own words will help me think toward good qualities and less to her weaknesses. This is a summer adventure that awaits me….an inner space.
In the mean time, check out JT Weaver’s blog. His storytelling is powerful. He has placed many of these stories in a lovely memoir book of letters to his children. Uphill Both Ways can be purchased on Amazon for a nominal fee.