Red Letter Day at the Bailey Building and Loan

Red Letter Day at the Bailey Building and Loan November 30, 2020

If I have a bad day, I call my dad and say: “It is another red letter day at the Bailey Building and Loan.”

This is a line from a Frank Capra film. Dad knows it indicates a very hard day.

Generally, he gives me a true word, speaking encouragement or correction into hard times. Dad tells me what is so. That can be disappointing, as reality is hard. Dad does not hesitate to tell me what I should hear in reality.

Dad is a wiseman.

This role of wiseman is harder than it might be, because while the truth never changes, what we wish was true does change! We always dream up for ourselves a way of escape from justice, even when we should not do so.

Times are hard, so easy answers are desirable, but rare. Easy answers scarcely ever work, but easy answers are comfortable.

We demand our public wisemen tell us what we wish was so, as opposed to what is so.

Truth endures, but what we can endure changes. Siding with eternity is harder than siding with the polls.

Dad is the rare man who will tell it as it is, instead of telling it as he wishes it was. If we were gods, then our wishes would be enough, but we are men, so we must discern truth.

Dad is the kind of man who knows we are not gods. We need truth as we are men. This necessitates Dad telling the truth even when the truth is hard.

In most times, he speaks the Word as he knows that Word.  This may be hard, because the truth is hard.

Ask Dad what he knows, then he will tell what he knows.

He is in hospital just now. He toughed out Thanksgiving with a gangrenous gall bladder that doctors removed two days later only because he insisted something was wrong. Dad is smart about his health and many other things.

If I am in a jam, I call Dad. I learned that from real life, but Frank Capra confirmed this maneuver in It’s a Wonderful Life. Enduring art, silver screen beauty in Frank Capra confirms my experience. Dad has lived long enough to know what is good, truth, and beauty in the day.

If something is wrong, Dad taught me to look for deep causes. He cautioned me about being content with taking medicines that merely covered up symptoms. Many choose relief from hard choices and so gain comfort, but Dad would never go this way. He wanted healing and a deeper hope.

Dad has been wrong in details, but scarcely ever wrong in the generalities.

What does that mean?

Imagine a man who might miss a call or two in the big game, but sees and implements the offensive strategy that wins the game.

Dad looks to eternity and so like Frank Capra’s Mr. Bailey is a man to be admired. He builds for eternity and not for this particular decade. Men like Dad are always losing, just to someone new.

We put out our model of the “Bailey Building and Loan” with a prayer to be like dear old Dad. 

He knows. 

Dad knew placation is not really getting well. He wanted health, not comfort and so he demanded surgery when doctors thought a few pills would do. Dad saved Dad’s life.

Getting well required an operation. That can be hard to escape.

We must lose the gangrenous, even if that rot has been with us for a long time. We must choose the best image of ourselves over what we see in the mirror today. If we see what should be, and press forward in that direction, then all will be well.

You might not have such a Dad. You might face gangrene of the soul without any model, any figure, any man to follow. See the icon of Scripture and the pathway of the Church.

Ask your Heavenly Father. He knows!


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