Over the course of my lifetime, my father has taught me many things. Some of those things are tidbits of wisdom like, “try not to burn any bridges,” and “always pay yourself first,” meaning make saving money a priority. Other things my dad taught me were skills, like how to throw a ball, how to parallel park, and how to mow a lawn. Still other things he taught me by example, by how he lived his life: be gracious in your interactions with others, love unconditionally, work hard, treasure your family, be generous always. In those obvious and not so obvious ways, my dad was letting me in on how to live a good life — he was was sharing with me the secret of life.
Now, people have many thoughts about the secret of life. British comedian Peter Cook wrote: “I saw an advertisement the other day for the secret of life. It said, ‘The secret of life can be yours for twenty-five shillings. Send to Secret of Life Institute, Willesden.’ So I wrote away, seemed a good bargain, secret of life, twenty-five shillings. And I got a letter back saying, ‘if you think you can get the secret of life for twenty-five shillings, you don’t deserve to have it. Send fifty shillings for the secret of life.’” Okay, so perhaps the secret of life cannot be captured or purchased.
Author Paul Coehlo writes: “The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” The secret of life is not giving up.
Or, singer-songwriter James Taylor writes in a song called “The Secret of Life:” “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time. Enjoy life, that’s the secret.”
In my religious tradition, Jesus gives us the secret of life and that is to love God and love your neighbor. The secret of life is love.
Sunday is Father’s Day. Think for a moment of your father or the men in your life who have been like fathers to you. What have they taught you about how to live a good life? How have they shared the secret of life with you?