Please hear my words. To our youth, listen closely.
There is a generation of folks that believe in their hearts that they need little to no help from others. They are capable to do as they always have. In their hearts, the only energy that moves them forward is their own.
My parents fall under this umbrella.
Recently, I set out with my brother-in-law to serve many with the idea that it would fill the cup of the same many involved.
A friend of mine, Rick, built a beautiful home on the Spokane River three years ago and had to cut down a few trees to do so. (He is older than me as well.) These said trees have been in a stack since then taking up valuable real estate—white and red fir with a peppering of pine trees. Rick, also is my transmission mechanic and has been a blessing to several of my vehicles: Loui’s Transmission.
Meanwhile, my father, Joe, needs at least six cords of firewood for the looming winter to heat his home. For him to do as he always has is not an option. So, I decided to kill two birds with one stone. Help Rick cleanup and ready my father for the winter months.
My father wrestles with his own limits. As he nears 80, he moves through life at a different pace—sometimes with a hand on a wall. As a veteran of the Vietnam War era, stop is not in his thoughts.
Being one of the greatest hunters and fisherman that many have met, several have shared this with me, my father now finds himself on the sidelines encouraging his family and freinds to get out to hunt and fish.
While at Rick's, we split and pulled three cords of wood off his property and brought it to my father’s home. When we dropped off the first load, my father asked if I would climb up his 20’ ladder and clean out his chimneys. Hugging the chimney stack with one arm the other arm lifted and jabbed the chimney sweep down each stack.
While working on the first, I gazed down at a small hive of yellow jackets in the other. Half way through, I had to take a break as my 53-year-old, once repaired shoulder burned. Let me just say that it was a task.
When I came down, I found my stepmom almost in tears as she was stressed that one of her kids could get hurt doing a job for them. She said that they could never live with that. I assured her that I did my best to stay safe. Not sure if she heard my words, however.
I found out later in the afternoon from my father that he actually set the ladder up before I was there and climbed to the top only to realize that this was not a job that he could do anymore. Next time, I will use my climbing harness and affix myself to the chimney.
My father is a man that has always stayed the course to complete his own jobs. He continually assures me that he can and even needs to do all tasks. He says that once he stops working, he will die. I understand the sentiment, but if he doesn’t slow and let others help, he will die as well.
At the end of the day as I drove home in my truck alone, I could not hold back my emotion. I wanted my father to know that it was ok to call upon his kids to help him. That one day, I will call upon my kids as well. Truth . . . our own limitations will one day slap us in the face—some these have already started for me.
While our youth is still intact, we must seek out these moments to let those that came before us know that that despite the changing seasons we are here to lift them up.
Our parents and grandparents still have many rewarding miles ahead of them and so much to offer and teach us. Like a good wine, their knowledge and skill sets are still there and, in many ways, getting better. Let them be part of the task at hand. From helping around the garden, yard, kitchen, or vehicles, they can still show-off their abilities.
Remind them that they are amazing and that asking for help is not a weakness; it is a strength.
For example, my father-in-law, Rich, who spent a career building custom homes in Spokane, has spent the past two weeks doing finish work in two beautiful homes along the Spokane River. Sloan is building his dream home(s) for himself and his mother. He called upon Rich for his expertise—as I often do as well.
Though Rich may not move at the speed he once has, his quality of workmanship shows no decline. I called my father-in-law after touring Sloan’s two homes rhe other day to let him know how impressed I was with his craftmanship. I spent the 1990s building homes alongside Rich. I am very aware of the man’s skill set.
Finally, remember that those in need don’t necessarily have to be family to be helped. If you have the ability to serve . . . please serve. On this day, it was clear to me that I was the one blessed.