“I’ve got a story for you, Rachel listen to this one!” These are treasured words for me. You see when these words are uttered from my dad’s lips, I know I’m about to hear something interesting, a quick one liner or a funny story. It also means there’s a high probability that my dad will slap his leg, laugh along with me for a while and finally sigh, “Aw, that’s a good one!” My father Richard has a masterful way of telling stories and jokes. It is an art form. I love stories! Telling them is a huge part of my speaking style no matter the size of my audience. I have my own method, yet I’ve learned from one of the best story tellers, Richard Heggen. It’s sure true the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
The other evening we were in a room filled with people. Richard told a few silly stories about his family of origin. He then said,”Okay, now someone else, tell us yours.” He asked us to share about growing up, life with siblings or any childhood memories. It was delightful! No one was forced to share but I noticed people put their phones away and pulled up chairs as we shared randomly around the circle. We chuckled and collected new information about each other from this precious time. It is the, dare I say, dying art of conversation and story telling. I believe people are hungry for it. One friend drew me aside and said, “I haven’t done what just happened in this circle in like…forever! Maybe I’ve never been part of something quite like this. My family never sat around and visited or told stories.”
I do love my father’s stories and his friendly manner. I love the way he speaks well of people and even about things. He’ll say, “Oh, boy! She’s the real deal or yeah, that’s a dandy!” While growing up I’d hear him greet young ladies this way,”Hello Freida!” He’d automatically say this to any cashier, waitress or bank teller. When I was a little girl I thought it odd…Wow! So many women in this town are named Freida!
I’d observe him closely as he walked up and asked total strangers, “What’s your middle name?” For some reason he’d gained a wealth of knowledge this way. He never started with the typical, Hello, I’m Richard what is your name? Where do you live? What do you do? Perhaps that’s why the response was greater. Folks sensed his genuine interest in visiting with them.
My father meets a stranger and asks, “Where are you from? I mean your home, home, home?” Often the most interesting information from total strangers spills forth. They share where they grew up, about their family, things they enjoy doing or how they came to live wherever they presently do. All this from one casual inquiry. He parts as friends, waves and always says,”Okay, well it was sure nice visiting with you!”
I do a variation of what my father does. I don’t often ask middle names first, but like my father, I love to engage people in conversation. I like to find out something about the one in front of me in a line, or beside me in a crowd of people. I enjoy meeting new people too. I’m usually drawn by something I notice and then make a comment. “Hey, I love your hair cut, is it new for you? Wow! That coat color is beautiful on you or your nails look fabulous! A friend told me, “I remember you coming directly over to me when you came to speak at our church and I thought, why is this crazy woman asking me questions? But I liked that you noticed me and I’m so glad we met that night.”
Another quirky thing I love about my father, Richard is he can be found rubbing his knee in a circular motion on his jeans to the point when my nephew Beau once said, “Grandpa you’re gonna wear a hole in your jeans if you keep doing that.” As we were driving around town together on one of my parents’ recent visits, I found myself waiting at a stoplight rubbing my right knee with my hand in the similar clockwise motion. My dad was riding shotgun. I gently hit his arm, got his attention and said, “Dad look at what I’m doing?” We shook our heads and both chuckled. I thought. Boy, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! Yes, there are noticeable ways that I am like my father; you become like what you love.
What is true in the natural is true in the spiritual as well. We act and become like our heavenly Father as we spend time with Him. Because we are his children and the Spirit of God lives in the believer, we become like Him. Jesus came to earth to put a face on God. He said when you see me you see the Father. Paul, writing to the people in Colossae says, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Colossians 1:15 Jesus shows us a picture of God. Jesus is God.
These verses talk about how we are transformed into His likeness. We become sanctified and more like God, by God himself.
And we, who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever– increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
I ask myself and let me ask you too. Are we looking, acting and becoming like our heavenly Father? We do become like what we love and worship. We get to spend time with Him and we reflect Him. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
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