A vow, by Webster’s definition, “is a solemn promise or assertion; specifically: one by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition.”
I made a vow to myself when very young. I was not going to let people push me around like they did my dad. I watched his mom treat his other brothers better and his physician colleagues disrespect him. I observed his lack of confidence and willingness to play small. I saw his wounded heart and hardened my own. You see, most vows (the kind we make silently to ourselves) are rooted in our wounds.
I was super small and slight. Never mind. I made a vow to myself, early on, to make something of myself, no matter the cost. If you beat me at basketball when I was young, we would play again and again and again, until I beat you. Driven. Focused. Competitive. These were my early descriptors. My wound, I guess you could say, drove me to accomplish. I was tough. This worked well for awhile. You see, being tough and demanding doesn’t make for much of a cuddly kinda dad. Kids came early before I understood myself, my wound, and my Miss, much less what it meant to be a dad to little boys. So, I kinda subconsciously lived out my vow to myself when raising Cain, if you will. I made sure my sons were strong and pushed too hard. I was involved and loving, don’t get me wrong. I was very committed to being a good, loving, dad. I just hadn’t learned to modify my approach. Once Krit came along, I had no push in mind, just protect. I was learning slowly.
Today, as I write this rant, it’s clear to me that I’m a better builder than father. It pains me to admit this. My sons are distant, even Tay, who is still proximate, holds me at arms length. Fact. So, my distant friend, take some time to look within, deep within, and understand the vows you’ve silently made to self. These vows can be very powerful and cause great good. And, they can be very powerful and cause great grief. None of us gets out of here without experiencing deep wounds to our hearts – none of us. The strongest, I’ve come to discover, do the most repairing.
God, help me model the way, embrace pain and suffering, and embody truth in love. God, help me become whole as you alone completely fill my hole – my wound. God, help me belong and become the kinda man, father, husband, and builder that is more of a “ezer kenegdo” – sustainer beside ’em. God help me come alongside. Thanks, God, for your perfectly good vow to all your creation to make us whole and set things to right. God, help me trust in your strength, grace, and mercy. God, help me pass some along. Good…