I am the product of an oxymoron. I was raised in suburbia by country people. My parents were born and raised in western Kentucky, but we were born and raised (mostly) in suburban Detroit. We heard that slow southern drawl at home, but the short, quick, sharp northern accent at school and in the neighborhood. Our Kentucky cousins teased us mercilessly about it when we visited once or twice a year. A country raising in the city meant we had a little independence… Playing with our friends up and down the street, not beholden to a clock, not stuck in the house.
But we knew when it was time to come home. My dad would step out onto the little front porch stoop and whistle. Once. Didn’t matter where we were in the neighborhood, we could hear that whistle and knew we better take off running for home. If we didn’t hear it? Well, that meant we were someplace we weren’t supposed be and that was trouble of its own.
1 Thessalonians 2:12 says we are encouraged and charged to “walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” Our God gives us independence and free will to walk with him on this planet, serving those he places in our lives. God calls us to himself. No, it’s not my daddy’s whistle but, as believers, we know his voice. And if we can’t hear it? Maybe we’re someplace spiritually or emotionally where we aren’t supposed to be.
My dad held me accountable for my actions. He made me feel safe and secure. He still does. I haven’t heard him whistle for a long time, but we have great conversations. Who holds us accountable now? Who in our lives charges me, so that my walk and my speech reflect Jesus? I don’t think I’ll ever get too old to need that person, that friend, that mentor who can steer me back onto the path.
I’m hearing the eternal harps again this morning in my head. I posted recently about this song, Hark I Hear the Harps Eternal. Click here to read Heaven!
The featured image is the house where I grew up in Michigan, taken last year on a visit. My dad built that garage. A few exceptions… the tree was a sycamore, the car was a Pontiac station wagon, the front window was a picture, not a bay, and that’s the porch where dad would stand and whistle for us. Calling us home.