Sage advice

by Jourdan Fairchild in


This past week has been a blur, so I apologize for my absence. We made a quick weekend trip to Kentucky to see my folks for one last time before they move, and while we were in town, my dad spoke at his college's graduation. I can't count the number of times I've heard this man speak, but it never, ever gets old. A daughter has never been more proud of her father than I was on that day. I thought I'd share one section of his speech that can serve as a big, fat life lesson to everyone. This first passage was written by my dad's friend Guy Sales about the battles we all face from time to time:

"We all know what it is like to carry a battlefield inside us—or, at least, an unruly mob of contending and contentious selves, among whom peace must prevail if we want to live peacefully in the world. We have who we fear we are, who we dream we could be, and who we actually are. We’ve got the self who is a son or a daughter, maybe a wife or a husband, a mother or father. We’ve got the roles of friend, citizen, community leader, and neighbor. We’ve got the person people know, the person only we know, the person we hide from others, and the person hidden even from ourselves. We’ve got the person we’re trying to be and the one we’re trying not to be. We’ve got all these wonderful, awkward, delightful and difficult people, these shades of identity and variations of self inside of us, and no wonder we feel so little peace."

My dad's advice: "What do I do? Polish your shoes every day. It’s a military thing. For hundreds of years in every Army around the world soldiers are required to polish their shoes. It shows pride, it requires discipline, but more importantly, it instills confidence because it sets you apart. You will face many battles as you leave this place. And as you do, whether the battle rages inside your head or on the outside, literally or figuratively polish your shoes. And while you do, ask God’s protection to be with you."

This past year, as I've been adjusting to a new city, a new lifestyle, and new friends, I've often let such battles go on in my head. Dad, I promise to be more diligent in my shoe polishing—at least figuratively—as I work toward becoming a more confident person.

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