A Patriarch in the Park

Yesterday I went to a local park to spend some time with the Lord.

Anytime my walk with God is feeling a little too routine and getting dry, I’ll try to simply change where I spend time with Him.

The weather was near perfect, the birds were chirping, and I was all alone on a bench except for a handful of people walking around the park loop.

I began to notice something a little unusual about these walkers though.

Every time they passed this older gentleman they would each say a word of encouragement and several times a person would stop and take a selfie with him.

He was really struggling to walk and would stop for 30 seconds at every bench on the loop, and he eventually came to sit next to my bench.

He looked to be maybe in his 80’s and, although he was walking very slowly and taking constant breaks, he was dripping with sweat. 

We began to chat a bit and he suddenly jumped up and said something like, “I can only stop for 30 seconds or I’ll get in trouble. My daughters are here to keep me accountable so I better start walking.”

Mystery solved.

As I continued to watch the various walkers it was clear they were all a part of the same multigenerational family, there to cheer on their patriarch as he worked to get back into shape.

It made me wonder if these selfies were being sent to the rest of the family so everyone could cheer him on.

He told me that all of his joints were in pain, but I could see now that the team that stood behind him gave him the push he needed. For this man, his daily exercise is most likely adding months, maybe years to his life.

Despite the pain in his body I saw so much joy in his face.

He was deeply loved.

None of us can stop the inevitable pains and hardships we’re all going to face as we age, but we can decide today whether or not our lives during that phase will be full of meaning.

This man, when he was young, chose well and I hope to follow in his footsteps. 


This entry is a part of Jeremy’s Journal, a newsletter Jeremy sends out every Wednesday morning to encourage you on your parenting journey. You can sign up to get them every Wednesday here.

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