The Gift Of Subtle Messages Of Great Value


Before his death, each May and December, I received a gift from my Dad. May is my birthday month and December is, of course, Christmas. On those occasions, for as long as I can remember, he sent me a book, which I believe he did for all his children.  Most of the books I have received as gifts over the years from him have been church-related, but on occasion, he throws in a historical biography or something history-related. Most of them he signs, or puts a small note inside of the cover. Written notes can fall out of books so I try to be careful and make sure the two stay together. I like it best when he signs the book with the date and year because I know it will always be remembered as “no ordinary book.”

I have owned hundreds of books over my lifetime. But the only books I own, outside of the scriptures, that are not “ordinary” are the ones my Dad gave to me. I know that I can always go out and buy another “Bible History of the Old Testament”, by Edersheim, but it won’t be inscribed with “Dear Scott, This book is not always doctrinally correct but it gives great insight into the story of Israel and the area- Hope you enjoy it. Love Dad, Christmas 1983.” I know I can replace “A Leap in the Dark” by John Ferling, but I can’t replace the words of my Father written inside, “To my wonderful son, Scott, on his 48th birthday Dad, May 12, 2004.”

So you see that a book that was once “ordinary” becomes “extraordinary” with the stoke of a pen. Not just any pen, but the pen of my Father. So, what is the message I’m really trying to convey, other than my Dad had this tradition? Well, like most things in life, there are subtle messages that all of us send out in the things that we do or say. The subliminal message that I think my Dad was making to me and my siblings, is that the reading of goods books was of great value to him. By the giving of books, he was communicating with us, that we too should value the reading of good books.

Sometimes the best lessons we learn in life are not shouting out at us to be heard. Often life’s most important messages are taught in quiet and simple but consistent ways. We should live our lives such that our children, associates, and friends are taught through our simple actions what we hold to be of value.

I don’t recall a conversation where my Dad said, “Son, you need to read good books! They are good for you!” But he consistently lived his life, such that, I came to know of his love for books and knowledge. What do we value, and are we communicating it to others? Are we living lives that serve as a testimony of what we hold dear? I hope that, like my Dad, I am doing simple things that turn “ordinary” things into “extraordinary!”

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