Can You Grow a Potato?

Jen’s Gem: Love the lane you’re in!

When I was in elementary school, I had to do a science project to grow a potato. Science was not my forte. This subject was the gift of my oldest brother who is a regular Einstein. While I probably should’ve asked him for help, I turned to my Dad.

I can’t recall what my father told me to do, but suffice it to say, it did not turn out well. I learned a big lesson that day as well as something about my Dad. As smart and gifted as he was, he was no scientist.
I remembered this valuable lesson when my children had school projects. Their father is a history buff so they were directed his way when knowledge of wars and battles was needed. Of course, my brother was on speed dial for all things science and math. That left computers and English for me. Perfect! All subjects covered.  Everyone has their sweet spot – their lane as I like to call it.

My Dad’s lane was music. He was an accomplished musician, playing with the likes of the Count Basie Orchestra and other prominent traveling bands. He was a music teacher touching the lives of a b-zillion elementary and high school students with pieces that would make you think you were in Carnegie Hall. He was a savvy businessman, owning a produce store in his hometown near Pittsburgh and a music store in Long Island.

If I was struggling with the notes to a Beethoven sonata or a Chopin prelude, it was my Dad who was called upon. If I was shaking in my boots before a piano recital (and oh yeah – I was shaking!), it was my Dad who helped quell my fears  by uttering his famous words – “What’s your last name?” as a reminder of who I was.

“And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18) 

As an adult, I would often return home to Long Island and try to pluck out a few notes of those once-memorized and often-performed classical pieces. With each wrong chord or misplaced use of the pedal, I would hear “That’s a G flat” or “You missed a note” or some other correction to my poor attempts to resurrect my musical talent.

A couple of years ago, I had my childhood piano moved to my home after my father passed away. The first piece I took out to play was Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. On the decades-old sheet music were instructions from my piano teacher alongside the letters of the notes that were above and below the clefs, which always dogged me. 

Those letters came from my Dad. When I would try to play the piece and would forget the notes, I’d say “Dad – what’s this?” He’d tell me and I’d pencil it in. Thank goodness I did – otherwise I think my neighbors would’ve called the police and declared my piano playing as noise pollution!

Even in his 90’s, my father still excelled in his lane. While his memory of daily activities flitted in and out like a fruit fly on a bowl of berries, that deep-seated knowledge of all things music stayed with him almost to the end.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

I’m not sure what my Dad would think of the lanes I’m in these days but I suspect he’d be very happy that I didn’t choose the music lane. Some things are just meant to be hobbies.

Just like my father on earth had a lane, God also has a lane. What’s the one thing He does better than anyone else? Love. In fact, he excels at it! No one can even come close!

Like my Dad, God has lots of skills, but this is the one where He rocks! If there was a contest for who loves the best, God would win it hands down. Even as much as my Dad loved me, it pales in comparison to how my Father in Heaven loves me…and you!

I don’t have my Dad here on Father’s Day – and I miss him…a lot. I’d love to share a cup of coffee with him this morning and  work on the Sunday crossword puzzle. Or even an ice-cold beer and a slice of his perfectly-grilled steak. But even more than that, I’d love to hear his voice one more time – even if it is “That’s a G flat.”

“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” (Malachi 4:6)

God bless all of the wonderful fathers on their special day! Know that God is watching over you and loves you no matter which lane you’re in.

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