In my garage stands a filing cabinet that has remained closed for over three years, but a few weeks ago on a sunny, Saturday afternoon, I opened the drawers, one at a time to inspect the contents– to sort the items to keep from those to recycle or donate.
Three years ago every item I shoved into this cabinet carried something sacred that would scream betrayal or spray guilt if I did not keep it. Yet, I’ve learned that when you allow yourself time to process, to heal, to seek God’s guidance and counsel, you discover that items in a filing cabinet won’t mend the shattered soul or honor his memory.
With a quick prayer for focus and rationale thought, I delved into the dusty cabinet drawers that now forever contain my Daddy’s scent and sense. From old work boots and t-shirts, birthday cards, Bible study notes, notebooks and folders and more, I exhumed all of it.
Consequently, this sunny Saturday afternoon project moved me a few rungs higher on the ladder of healing, and by God’s grace and perfect timing, I found treasures of wisdom and creativity from my Daddy.
Part 1 of the treasures and wisdom found in the cabinet consisted of a draft titled “Food for Thought” and a final copy without a title. My Daddy wrote this during his time in prison–a short but transformative period in his life when he earned his GED, learned hard lessons about family, friends, and foes and found Jesus Christ. The first draft of this piece read like a fill-in-the-blank and may have been an exercise he did in “class.” No matter how the sentences and phrases came to life on my Daddy’s notebook paper, the inspirational and chilling words remain filing cabinet items to keep.
by Gene Drennan circa 1978-1980
the most expensive indulgence: hate
the greatest trouble maker: one who takes too much
the cheapest, stupidest and easiest thing to do: find fault
the greatest stumbling block: egotism
the most ridiculous asset: pride
the worst bankrupt: the soul that has lost its enthusiasm
the cleverest man: one who always does what he thinks is right
the most dangerous person: liar
the most disagreeable person: the complainer
the best teacher: one who makes you want to learn
the meanest feeling of which any human being is capable: feeling bad at another’s success
the greatest need: Common Sense
the greatest puzzle: Life
the greatest mystery: Death
the greatest thought: God
the greatest thing, bar none, in all the world: Love
the greatest sin: Fear
the biggest fool: the boy who will not go to school
the most agreeable companion: one who would not have you any different from what you are
the best town: where you succeed
the greatest bore: one who will not come to the point
a still greater bore: one who keeps talking after he has made his point
the great deceiver: one who deceives himself
the greatest invention of the devil: war
the greatest secret of production: saving waste
the best work: what you like
the best play: work
the greatest comfort: the knowledge that you have done your work well
the greatest mistake: giving up