Postcards from my dad: Mark H

In a time when families are broken down, blended up and statistically you are more likely to be missing a solid father figure in your life, we decided to ask some of our friends who we think make great dads, spiritually, biologically, to the church, and to the student generation, to write to you. So just in case your dad never got to speak into your life in the way you'd hoped, here's a postcard from dad to you. 

I want you to be a little bit courageous. Not in a global adventure, trekking the world kind of way, but in a way that may feel uncomfortable to you in many small ways. And it may not seem to require courageousness at all. But I want you to meet this challenge of courage and boldness, and to meet it in the place it is needed most.

I want you to meet with people, not just your people, not just those most available, but be open to all people - even those most unlike you. Go and listen to people. Hear what is really going on in their life beyond the smile or the mask, beyond the wall of words or images that they may erect to protect themselves in class or on their feeds. 

Listening to understand someone is often uncomfortable. It sometimes needs courage to endure the quiet. To allow someone to open up what is really happening when the door closes in their room, when they are left alone and in the darkness when the lights go out, allow them to share that running dialogue in their heads without judgement or offering a solution. Break free of the tradition of listening to answer, be brave and listen to understand. 

Sometimes someone extraordinary comes along in ordinary circumstances, and the greatest honour they can bestow upon you is to call you friend. I want to encourage you to go deeper, for your life will be enrichened by those we meet along the way. Often, without us knowing, they are hurting. And sometimes we hurt too. And if you truly want to engage with someone there has to be an element of exchange and giving of yourself. It is a risky business. Compassion means to suffer with. So the more you give, the more it hurts and this can be costly, but then that is what caring is about. And in a world that can be so uncaring, so fast to move on, so quick to turn away from someone hurting in silence, I urge you to be bold, be the courageous one in the room. 

Lives and relationships built on an exchange of vulnerability, by giving a piece of yourself, are what I challenge you to boldly pursue. To give will be to receive. And in ordinary moments you will receive extraordinariness. In such small offerings, great things grow. But you need courage to be that person. 

Be that person.

 

Read more postcards from my dad here: Paul W, John, Steve CDavid, Steve, AndyPaul H, Mark CKeithPhilip, Pete, Paul B

 

Miriam Swaffield

Global Student Mission Leader

Miriam helps equip the church to share Jesus with students in Europe and beyond. She lives in Middlesbrough, loves her neighbours and thinks she can surf.

Partner with Miriam