In a previous entry I wrote about self-control. As is often the case, when I write about something, not only is it something that connects with past experience, it also says something about what I am about to experience.
Over the course of the day with the various challenges presented to test the capacity of self-control and the fruit of it, I begun to reflect on the quality of meekness. This is a quality I also see as closely related to self-control even as I see wisdom being integral to it.
When I think of meekness I consider the scope and capability for large expressions of power in overt aggression or otherwise manifest in a clear and imposing manner. All of that possible, but never unleashed because it’s kept under wraps. Nobody epitomised that more in my life than my Dad.
A number of people I know who are small in stature have seemed to work overtime in making up for their stature with energy to burn. It’s as if to say that they should not be disregarded because of their height. My Dad was nothing like that. As I eventually discovered, my Dad was not that tall in stature at all and with that his manner overall was very relaxed and calm, unruffled and seemingly with nothing to prove. He would quietly carry on with his work, no complaints, no fuss, no problem. As I also later found out, this was done under very trying circumstances from all angles. Not a hint of malice, bitterness or pent up frustration. Nothing that would indicate he was suppressing the desire to lash out at someone for the treatment he endured.
At one stage this made me think my Dad was a doormat for others because he wouldn’t kick up a fuss. I thought he didn’t have the backbone to stand up for himself. It was only as I grew into my twenties that I began to appreciate just how measured my Dad was. He more than had it in him to erupt and put more than a few people in their place. He more than had that energy and passion in him to get violently aggressive at the rubbish he went through. It was there, but he had made it a practice to channel all of that into his prayer and devotion to God. He poured it out to God and learnt to develop an equanimity about his life. Good or bad, God was in it all and as long as he kept his eyes on Him, then He would see him through. It worked for my Dad. It worked tremendously well.
Years later, as I looked back on another day of challenges to not get angry, or upset, or otherwise distracted but still offer kindness and goodness in my day’s issues, I remembered my Dad again. I remembered the meekness that allowed him to endure. I know that wasn’t from my Dad in himself. I know where it comes from. My desire is to one day develop that mastery over all that threatens to lead me down dangerous paths.
Maybe one day it will happen. Until that day, I am grateful for the example of my Dad that points me to the example of the meek Jesus.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden