“Why don’t you ask your Dad?”
“Uhhh, yeah. I’ll do that.”
It was the summer before my senior year in high school. Some of my closest friends thought it would be a great idea to spend a weekend at a hotel together, one last chance to be together before we began our last year in high school. While I wanted to join in, I was reticent to ask for permission from my father. My father did not take vacations. He worked six days a week since I was born. His work ethic was inspiring and intimidating. That evening, I waited for an opportune moment.
“Dad, can I go with Jake and my other friends to the North Shore for the weekend?”
My dad looked up from the newspaper he was reading and icily asked, “Why are you going there?”
Here we go, I thought. I haltingly started my explanation. “We wanted to have a vacation before we began our senior year.”
Without missing a beat, my father sternly shot back, “You don’t need a vacation! You’re not working!”
Dejected, I nodded and slumped away. I was acting like a spoiled privileged child as my puerile selfish needs egged me on to silently protest and wonder why I couldn’t enjoy my summer like my classmates? I was hoping he would relent and let me go but not this time. I didn’t broach the topic again. Although I thought him unreasonable at the time, deep down, I knew he was correct. Years later, I can understand why my father felt the way he did. My grandparents were always working and he worked during high school to help with the family finances. He never had a vacation when he was my age and it was presumptuous for me to ask. Yet, for many years, I could not let go of that resentment.
Many years later, I found myself projecting the same resentments and unreasonable expectations unto others, particularly my dermatology residents. I would recount the hours I spent studying during my residency, filling every free moment, expecting that they would also make the same sacrifices, completely insensitive to their relationships and other responsibilities.
“I did it so you should do it!”
There are many permutations of this aphorism and it has been a difficult lesson to unlearn because I am still so self-centered. Whatever hardships or inconveniences I may have endured in life does not give me a license to impose the same harsh expectations upon others. I continued to carry these burdens, oblivious to the damage it was causing me. I would have remained in this forlorn condition had I not I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ accepted Him as my Lord and Savior.
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalms 55:22 (ESV)
Jesus Christ freed me from the grip that past resentments and unpleasant experiences held on my soul. I no longer had to carry these burdens and inflict the pain I experience upon others. I had a Savior who understood and knew everything about me, including my past, present, and future.
It was true, I didn’t need a vacation. I needed to grow up and I still have a very long road ahead. Thanks be to God that He carries all of my burdens and cares, ones that should no longer be a part of my life.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.