Yesterday, I walked all day in Chandler’s boots. It was painful. The heel was high and the shoe was three sizes too big for me, so I had to curl my toes to keep from sliding to the front of the shoe each time I took a step. It was a good reminder, because it’s so easy to stay in your own comfortable perspective. Walking in Chandler’s boots helped make some very important discoveries possible.
First, I understood from Chandler’s point of view where I had failed him as a father; and because I had decided I would be in his shoes, I chose to listen and not to defend myself. Had I stayed in my shoes, I would have drawn from plenty of excuses I had available and justified myself, and kept my distance. Instead, I understood how I had failed him as a father, and was able to ask him to forgive me.
Second, I heard about his relationship with the Lord, and had I been only in my own shoes, I would have missed it. I would have been too busy looking for any bad theology in his present understanding of God. I would have been listening to correct him, not hear him. As a result, I found out that he knows and hears from God on levels I didn’t know existed. Chandler is deeply spiritual, and wants to be a part of what I’m doing. We’ve been praying since he was a small child that Chandler would be the one to carry on the ministry. He’s telling me that he’s known that all along, and has already picked up the mantle.
Finally, I heard his ten-year plan for our family. That’s right; Chandler has a ten-year plan for our family. I don’t have much of a plan for today, much less for ten years from now. We went out to dinner and drew out his plan on the paper tablecloth with crayons. Had I been only in my shoes, I would have shot down what I thought was unfeasible about his plan. I would have looked at the plan from the perspective of what was impossible about it. Instead, I was able to see his plan from the point of view of what was awesome about it, and dream with him — even commit myself to taking some first steps toward making it work, which would include finding ways around what was unfeasible about it. It’s a damn good plan.
In conclusion, I’ve discovered that my shoes are much too comfortable, and my perspective is only interested in holding onto that comfort. Outside of that perspective is a new way of understanding. It’s like we have a new son, but actually, this Chandler has been there all along, I just have been too much in my own shoes to discover him.
Marti made a most important observation yesterday: “Who would have thought that Chandler would become the anchor of this family?” Well, certainly not me, if I stay in my own shoes.