By Monica Cappelli
The book The Life of Pi was amazing, fearful, thrilling and allegorical.
As I recently considered re-reading it, the idea for the following post occurred to me.
Energetic, graceful, nurturing, and fun on good days. Heartbreaking, rife with error, and full of regret on other days. My “Life as a Parent” is full of mountains, valleys, triumphs, and mistakes. These are the tiger’s contrasting stripes – faith and doubt, courage and fear, triumph and failure. The tiger is my life in this flesh.
How does one know if the sum total of all your years of parenting – your life poured out on behalf of beautiful, happy, strong-willed, challenging, flawed, adorable little persons (gifts!) – will amount to good in either your lifetime or in future generations?
Sometimes I am able to: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4, NIV.)
And for those other times: “Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. . .” (Psalm 19:12-13.)
Oh yes, we are temporal parents. Yet our God, the eternal Father, has a plan and a way that transcends our earthly triumphs and depressions. In that knowledge lies faith, encouragement, and strength – the life boat that carries us (despite our doubts and foibles), through the sometimes cruel waters of life.
Parenting with this perspective leads me to think: As a parent do I want to be remembered as a slave to my own stubbornness and sinful habits? Or on “those days” will I be able to submit to God’s calling on me and humble my heart in apology, then offer life-giving love and warmth to my family, coupled with sincere prayer to God for forgiveness, healing, and restoration?
The latter choice, trusting my Father, (e.g., climbing out of the storm-tossed sea into the lifeboat) is my only option for assurance and peace, given my faith. “Peace. Be still.”
The question is not whether I’m a perfect parent – oh my, I most certainly am not (I’m a tiger: striped with conflicting hues of flesh and spirit)- but rather, do I model faith, hope, love and forgiveness even after I make one of my numerous and inevitable mistakes?
I am glad (very glad!) that our sovereign God is perfectly perfect: loving, parental, concerned, protective, involved, just, strong, forgiving, generous, and completely tender-hearted toward me.
My job as a parent is to keep my lifeboat watertight and afloat – whether the “tiger” is having a good day or not.
Have you seen or read The Life of Pi? What did you think of it?
Monica Cappelli is a wife and the mother of four wonderful children. Over the years her family has been blessed to experience home, public, private, and parochial schooling. This has given Monica an appreciation for the strengths and challenges of the educational choices available to families. A successful experience is possible in any of these situations with the support of community and prayerful, encouraging parents. Monica strongly believes that parental academic expectations and “leadership by example” in the areas of competence, autonomy, and service set the stage for a young person’s entrance into a successful, joyful, and productive adulthood.