Extreme Legacy

Last Friday I had some tests done at the doctor’s office and the results came in today. I was facing some potentially bad news.

When the doctor came in this morning, I was ready for about anything. I tried to read his face to see if I could tell what he was going to say. I couldn’t, though. I am sure he has become an expert in not revealing his diagnosis through facial expressions or body language.

What had had to tell me was no surprise. I indeed had an illness. However ,the prognosis is good.

This is typical of me. I am kind of a middle-of-the-road kind of guy. Extremes are not a part of my lifestyle (except in punishing my kids and overreacting to some things). I usually score in the middle on those personality tests.

I am wondering, though, considering that the outcome could have been disastrous, what I am going to do with this new lease on life. What am I going to do with the potential years  I have left?

One thing this episode has taught me is that life is short. As the old beer commercial used to say,”You gotta go for all the gusto.”

One thing that has been foremost in my mind during the last several days is how much my family needs me. I am my wife’s husband, my children’s father.

I was sitting in a group of men the other day, young and old(er), and we were discussing our upbringing. There was a theme which came out: Dad was never around. He was drunk. He was working.

This conversation reminded me of how much the features of our modern society have worked to kill the family. In the old days, in our mostly rural society, the kids worked with Mom and Dad all day. A lot was passed on that way.

Now Mom and Dad head to the office. Dad especially is not around.

We men are caught between a rock and a hard place today. We are called upon to be there, but we are also supposed to provide for our families. In this world today, it’s hard to do both.

My recent encounter with disease has made me see that the priority is in fact the relationships I have with my wife and kids. There are only so many years in one’s life.

What is important is what is passed on and between husbands and wives, fathers and sons, fathers and daughters.  If this means the leather jacket and the season tickets to the NFL have to go by the boards, so be it.

I don’t want my kids to sit in a meeting some day and say that Dad was never there. This has been true of me  lot in my life. With God’s help, no more.

It’s time to be an extremist, an extremist family man that is.

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