Stop Caring Where You Sit

We gathered for Father’s Day at 5:55 a.m. Nearly every other Sunday at this time the dad in our house is slicing a few pieces of pulla, packing his briefcase and leaving by himself for a day of visiting other congregations as part of his leadership responsibilities in our church. Yesterday, we honored his commitment by visiting with him.

As often happens on any day we honor a parent, a sibling squabble broke out and took attention from the real reason we were even up at that hour. The argument began over who got to sit in the back seat. Paul ended it with, “Stop caring where you sit.”

A message for me rang from those words. So often in life we are encouraged to have goals, make plans and move forward with a vision of where we figuratively want to sit in life. Personally, I plan my place to sit with inspiration and plow forward with passion to craft the ideal location.

But, right now, I just want to sit. With the hardship of an unknown financial future clouding our lives, I don’t even care where it is. I continue to toil in my search for the right place to work, serve, write. In the musical chairs of life I catch myself standing alone, wondering if a chair is left anywhere with my name on it.

Paul’s words to our children on Father’s Day became like words from my loving Father above, “Teresa, stop caring where you sit. Stop stewing over your seat, searching for where it is or planning how you’re going to reach it. That only turns you inward when you should be offering any seat you can find to someone who needs it.”

The words of inspiration didn’t come like a chastisement. Rather, they affirmed how I’d spent my time in a week when others had needs I could fulfill.

One of the biggest challenges of personal trials, heartache and adversity is the tendency to only see our own need for a place to sit or a friend to sit beside, in a literal and figurative sense. This perspective doesn’t take away my desire to identify goals and plan for the future, but reminds me to not be so focused on my chair that I miss the objective altogether.

On a parting note, despite the squabbles of yesterday, our kids unveiled their Father’s Day gift to their dad, Project S’more. And weather permitting, tonight we’ll be seated in front of their newly-crafted fire pit roasting marshmallows and planning how we can resurrect Project Oompa-Loompa, the trail that will take us there.

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