Harold lived a long and fruitful life and as I was getting ready to attend his funeral with his family when the song “Nothing to Prove” came on the radio. I could not have thought of my fitting words to describe such a man of honor. As a father, I aspire to form in my children the type of memories described in this song. The song is told from the perspective of a child reflecting on the life of his father.
You taught me how to ride a bike
Tie my shoes and fly a plane
How to swim and how to fish
To see a star and make a wish
Said it’s ok to make mistakes
Just don’t get stuck in yesterday
Forgive, forget and move ahead
‘Cause life is what you’re livin’ in
Fatherhood is about teaching. It is also about protecting and providing. It’s part of our nature from the moment the little infant is placed in our arms. Suddenly, there is an all-consuming desire to love and care for somebody else completely unselfishly. With it also comes feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt wondering if we are up to the task that stands before us. We are definitely not. Every father makes mistakes, lots of them. However, we can’t get so stuck in the mistakes of yesterday that we stop living for today. In time we learn that love covers up a multitude of sins. If we love enough, perhaps our shortcomings will not even be remembered. I certainly hope so anyway.
As the song points out, most lessons are not taught by words; they are lived. I have delivered many sermons in my life time; few, if any will be remembered. Words are rarely remembered. What a person does; that will be remembered long after a person leaves this life.
Now you’re gone and all I have
Are memories I hold dear
But if I’m quiet I hear your voice
Still ringin’ in my ears
Sayin’ live with no excuses
Love with no regrets
Laugh a lot and leave this life
With nothing left unsaid
Make this world a better place
Don’t be afraid to cry
When it’s finally time to say goodbye
There’s nothin’ to prove, nothin’ to lose, nothin’ to hide
After all is said in done, I can think of no better legacy to leave for my children. We all have to die, but not everyone lives well. If we live selfishly, that is how we will be remembered. In the end, it isn’t about the money, possessions, education, or career achievements. Did you live well? Did you make this world a better place? Life will be full of joy along with sorrow. We can’t help what happens to us; but we do determine how we live. We can decide to live with integrity instead of dishonor. We can live for love instead of hate. We can live well.
You said life cannot be measured by
The place you live, the car you drive
The thing that counts the day you die
Is who you are and what’s inside
So tell the truth, don’t ever lie
Integrity at any price
Your words, you’re bought, you’re highest prized
So guard it close and live your life
So many things I learned from you
‘Bout life and love and play
I learned more by how you lived
Than what I heard you say
Even though the album “Fearless” did well, this song barely charted. It was overshadowed by “Revelation Song” and “From the Inside Out.” So, what made this song stand out so much to me? Because this is what I aspire to be. I can only hope that after I leave this life, I will leave such memories behind.