As a pre-teen and teenager, my family called me “technical Tony.” They didn’t always mean it as a term of endearment. But let’s not go there right now. The point is, I enjoy technology. Seeing how the latest, greatest mobile device or laptop works enthralls and intrigues me. I think it’s all so incredibly cool.
Ah yes. The most important things.
(cue the record scratch sound effect) Wait a second! The coffee must not have kicked in yet. Did I just say the most important things in life are devices and digital content?!
Incredible! And you didn’t even try to stop me. Thanks a lot!
Actually, if you’ve followed any of my Rhyme and Reason shenanigans here on the website or on my podcast, you already know that was a tongue-in-cheek lead-in. And you already know that I know what’s most important in this life. Relationships.
Because they’re the only “thing” you can take with you through eternity. But, sadly, even most relationships won’t make that journey.
And that’s why I don’t place the value of my digital devices even close to the value of my relationships. And here on Earth neither one of them last all that long.
For example, my Dad.
For most of his working life he was a hard-working milkman. And that was back in the days when a milkman would deliver dairy products door-to-door.
I remember going to work with him on a LOT of Saturdays. So, when I say he worked hard, I know what I’m talking about from personal experience. Out of bed around 3 a.m. to be at the dairy plant in time to load the milk truck before dawn. And I can still “smell” and “feel” the cold chill of the milk truck’s storage area. Stacked with cases of gallons, half gallons, and quarts of milk. And juice, butter, bread, ice cream, and more.
Dad worked two routes each week. One was his Monday, Wednesday, Friday route. The other was Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. He delivered milk in some neighborhoods in Texas near NASA. In fact (as a side note) several of his customers were some of the first “right stuff” astronauts.
Another side note (and true story) Dad surprised me, on one of those Saturdays I was with him. He arranged for me to personally hand deliver a half gallon of ice cream to Neil Armstrong. For those of you born in this century, Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon. And Technical Tony handed him a container of Dutch chocolate rocky road ice cream! (at least I believe that was the flavor)
OK, back to the story. And why I’m sharing it.
Even on those long Saturdays, when I helped Dad deliver milk, he spent lots of time with me. Not just telling me what to do. No, we’d also have conversations about the most important things in life. He was interested to know what I’d learned in math, science, and language classes. And we’d talk about other things, like family, and where I’d go when I die. Yeah, even that.
Those one-on-one times with my Dad were priceless. And I wouldn’t trade a second of them for all the cool technology in the world.
But he died when he was only 51.
Just so you know, life with Dad wasn’t always a Norman Rockwell painting. He was a strict disciplinarian. And when I failed to do the right (which, obviously was rare) sometimes there were serious consequences.
But those memories never overshadow the learning and productive times with Dad. Like when he showed me how to use tools and work on lawnmowers, bicycles, and even my first car. Or the times he spent building (yes, building) go-karts for my brother and me to test drive around the block.
Dad even showed us how to fly kites using our saltwater fishing rods and reels. He’d throw the football with us, in the street, during football season. He taught us the finer points of throwing a baseball with either hand. I remember even getting him to play tennis with me when I started up that sport in high school. And I remember it was the first sport that I could beat him. Guys might identify more with me on that. You know how it feels to beat your dad, for the first time, at anything. Right?
My Dad was only 20 years older than me. He’s now been gone longer than he was around during my life. I’ve already lived quite a few years longer than he did. And I still think of him and so many of those special times almost daily.
I’m not sure if he knows, right now, how important a role he played in my life. But I AM sure he knows, without a doubt, what the most important things in life are.
He was (and is) a Christian. So, I know my Dad is “present with the Lord” right now. And he’s experienced, firsthand for over 32 years, the ultimate relationship. It’s an awesome and incredible HOPE I have. To know I’ll see him again someday. And to know we’ll be eternal brothers in the presence of the one, true, living, loving Father (and Creator) of us all.
Try out an eternal perspective.
As you check your texts, instant messages, social media accounts, YouTube and Instagram videos, and even your eCommerce stats, pause. Look up. Look around. Pay attention to the ones you love. And talk to them.
Embrace. Laugh. Enjoy the time.
They won’t be here forever.
You won’t either.
But you’ll all be somewhere forever. Talk about that. And be sure you know where you’re going. It matters more than any other message you’ll receive from any other source. Metaphorically, I call it…
Dwight was a boy anybody would employ
‘Cause he worked his fingers to the bone
But he said he had to fly, get a piece of the sky
So he took off for the great unknown
Everybody said no, no, no But he still had to go
To make his whole life complete
And look for Fandango Street
He took himself a wife as he made the change of life
And the boy became a regular man
They had a couple kids just like everybody did
But it really wasn’t in the plan
And his spirit said no, no, no
That’s not the way you should go
Should be pointing your feet On up to Fandango Street
Oh, but somewhere the world took over
And left him thirsting for more
Where was the milk and the honey
He had dreamed of all those years before
He was moving right along feeling permanently strong
Thinking all he had to do was behave
But a terminal disease slowly drove him to his knees
And it took him to an early grave
And his family said no, no, no
But he still had to go
To make the journey complete and look for Fandango Street
And to this day I say no, no, no
But I know he had to go
To make the journey complete and look for Fandango Street
I hear him tapping his feet up on Fandango Street
And so his life is complete…he dance on Fandango Street!
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