Lessons Learned on a Napkin

One of the most memorable moments of learning I ever had growing up, was when my dad sat me down at our favorite pizza place and started illustrating on a napkin. It didn’t matter how good the drawings were or weren’t. The point is, he was taking the time to calmly explain to me something about life.



We were talking about it rapidly from car to restaurant table, but when the napkin came out and the pen, everything seemed to slow down. The lesson turned from the problem I had created, to how to solve problems or work around difficult things in the future. My ears tuned in and the lesson has stuck in my mind ever since.



He began drawing out a little scene as if I was walking on a path with obstacles along the way; this was me on the path of life. Maybe there was a little stream I had to cross, etc. I can’t remember ALL of the details (I was 10 or 11). What I really remember was this LOG he drew and he described it as being very difficult to climb over. He was describing how arduous a climb it was…I was getting uncomfortable.


But then he took his pen and drew a little picnic table hidden on the other side of the difficult log, and he had a smile on his face.


Lessons Learned on a Napkin




These gems of rest and enjoyment are hidden. They are coming.


Thanks, Dad.


This reminds me that our Heavenly Father has prepared spots of rest and enjoyment for us too, hidden along the paths of our lives.


Just in my last post, I described a walk along a rocky cove that was difficult to cross for anyone under the age of 12 and over the age of 55. It was full of “ankle-breakers”. They are rounded rocks the size of overstuffed hamburgers and mini watermelons. Walking on ankle-breakers is treacherous and laborious. (See the Post for more details.) But on the other side of this challenging walk, was the hidden treasure of the perfect place to rest atop a great view and right beside some natural, calm, and clear tide pools.


Sometimes we need Faith to walk just a little bit further.

tide pool



The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.

– Hebrews 11:1 MSG


Sometimes we need to be reminded that life does not only consist of uphill battles…


…but rest and pleasant enjoyment will be provided on the other side of our: trial, project, deadline, temptation, terrible experience, a mountain you are climbing, or even death itself.


There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

– Romans 5:3-5 MSG