Back in the early ’50s, in my formative years of learning, I inadvertently made a decision that seemed to alter the course of my life. The Korean war was looming on the horizon, and American tanks and troops were pulling out of post-war Europe. On my way to school I would watch the long lines of tanks rolling along the cobblestone street toward the railroad depot.
What I was learning in school seemed to have nothing to do with what was happening in real life. In this strange world that didn’t make a lot of sense to me, I desperately needed someone caring to whom I could relate.
At home, Oma (my grandma) would look after us kids, provide care, concern and chores. However both of my parents were running a business away from home. We really didn’t get to see much of them, since they usually rose and were long gone before we ever got up and didn’t come home till late in the evening.
So one day I struck out after school for my father’s business. I’m sure my grandma got worried about me that day. However, that afternoon at work with my dad and mom turned out so well that I decided from that day on to go there after school. For the next three years, if anybody asked me where I was off to in such a hurry, the answer was: “I must be about my father’s business.”
It didn’t take but a few weeks and the three of us—Papa, Mutti (mother) and I—became a close-knit team and family that we hadn’t been before.Little did I realize that I wasn’t just learning the business, but more importantly, I was learning about my father and mother. Now I would go all over town, delivering orders of soap, brushes, paint or canvas, in my father’s name. People would actually call me Mr. and usually give me some token of appreciation for my services.
Life had become much more fulfilling for me. Going to school wasn’t so hard anymore, now that I had a real purpose. Papa could also explain some of my questions about what was going on in this chaotic world. It was great to be about my father’s business!
Many years later, I look back on the turn in the road back then that got me involved in my father’s business. Then it reminds me of the time when I was called by God, some 10 years later. And to this day, when somebody asks where I’m off to in such a hurry, the answer is: “I must be about my Father’s business!”
Los Angeles, California, congregation