I’m not sure of the exact date but I remember the day when I knew that I had that thing in me that a parent needs. My wife and I were at my in-laws’ lake house. I was on the phone inside the house when I heard a strange kind of screech then my wife called for me. I dropped the phone and ran outside. When I got to where she was, I saw what had caused the screech. My dog, Kelme, pinned on his back by another dog in the bed of rocks that descended down into the lake. I was on the deck that was about fifteen feet above where Kelme and his attacker were. Without a thought, I hopped over the railing, dropped the fifteen feet and miraculously landed safely on the jagged rocks right next to the two dogs. Luckily the other dog got completely spooked by my sudden appearance and bolted quickly. So I did not have to engage in the vicious fight with a dog that I anticipated. I scooped Kelme up and took him to the vet.
This morning I was reminded of this experience while on my run and listening to the Foo Fighters’ song “In Your Honor”. The line “In Your Honor, I would die tonight!” is the one that hammers the point of that experience home. I gave absolutely no thought to my own safety in that situation and justifiably so. In my view, it is inherent to being a parent that you put the welfare of your children above your own. After that experience, I knew that I had that inside of me. I know with complete certainty that I would be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for my children, trading my life for theirs. Today while listening to that song, I decided that there is another level to that equation.
The idea of the sacrificial trade holds but my hope is that we never get there. So “In Their Honor”, I will not be dying but what if instead “In Their Honor” I lived? If I am willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, why not make some of the smaller sacrifices and live life to the fullest? Show them that my purpose is not particularly to give everything that I have in order that they might live. My purpose should be to give my best attempt at this life in order that they might follow that example. Perhaps the sum total of all of those little sacrifices will be a greater gift because they get to keep their father and he is someone to be proud of.
Luke and Emmy, In Your Honor, I will live tonight!