I was the youngest of three. My dad’s nickname within the family of me was, “Bunkiewheaties.” Let’s just say that being the youngest, having a nickname like that, and being 7 years away from the next sibling allowed for less work around the house.
There are kids who learn how to change the oil, fix a small engine, do some electrical work, or even, basic drywall. I was not one of those kids. I can distinctly remember my dad referring to people who were “mechanically minded” and people who weren’t. Clearly we know which type I was.
The transformation started when I was 27 and has continued for the last two decades. In the last 5 houses I have owned (do we ever really own them?) there have been a plethora of projects. In anything you could possibly think of, I’ve probably done it.
Here was the key moment in all of the projects. It would end up being my dad’s last trip to San Diego, for afterwards he later suffered a severe stroke and can’t travel anymore. He and my mom were in town for my nephew’s wedding. I had told my dad about our shower not having the power it once had. He assessed the situation and said it was the cartridge.
Here was the transformation.
During this entire project my dad did not touch a tool, or get in the shower, or turn off or on any of my main water lines. This had never happened before. He guided me through the whole thing. Gave a ton of great advice, sharing how to not break certain things, or how to remember where the cartridge goes in for the hot and cold water. We finished the project, my dad affirmed me, and I didn’t think much of it.
Roughly a year later this cartridge needed to be changed again. There had been lots of transformations in my life since that cartridge change. The dad who could do anything, walked 6 miles a day, sang in the choir, always busied himself with projects galore, was unable to walk or talk.
The outsider looking in must have been impressed. I knew just what to do! I had this project started and completed in about an hour. Marni was totally impressed that I knew what I was doing! And then it dawned on me; the transformation was a gift from my dad. He took the time to teach, empower, and encourage, and it transformed me.
All of us have transformations happening whether we want them to happen or not. One author actually calls them, Necessary Losses. I like the word, transformation. In Romans, it says to, “be transformed,” which I think gives a picture of embracing verses grieving these losses or transformations.
On this Transformation Friday I want to make two points. (1) Transformation can happen when either we allow ourselves to be taught, or we teach or pass it along to others. (2) Life by nature is transforming. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and we can grieve it, or embrace it.
Two things are transformed in my life today – one is a shower cartridge, and I am so glad my thankful my dad empowered, transformed me, instead of doing it himself. The second transformation is my dad, living in a care facility in Mt. Angel, Oregon. Today, my dad is not the man I grew up with, in fact, he’s quite different. Somehow though, even from his wheelchair, he’s still transforming me.
How about you? Who is and has helped transform your life? What part of your life right now is in transformation that is hard? What part of your life right now is in transformation that is exciting?