Sunday, September 26, 2010
I still remember
My dad had been fighting lung cancer for a year now. My parents never told me how bad it really was. They hid that from me. Maybe I was just ignoring it all. No one thinks their dad will never be there, right? I was expecting my dad home that next day. My brother in law was to come out and bring a bed for him and move my parents room around. So, I was expecting to see him, but not on this day.
It was summer. It was the month of April, and it was unusually hot. Now, I had called to check on my dad and mom said he was doing great. I was planning on going to the hospital before work. Little did I know he would be gone by the time I was ready to go.
My dad called me Rob. It was a name that just seemed to stick. Those people who love me the most call me Rob still today. It is a name I carry with a humble heart, remembering just how my dad said it. I wish I could hear him say it again just once more.
All the tubes are left hanging free. No oxygen turned up high. No muffled sounds of breath. No television to drown out the silence. Only me and my dad. My thoughts and empty heart. God? I knew there was a God, but I sure didn't know where He was. I didn't think He was in this room. I did not carry the deep faith in Christ Jesus then as I do today. I held anger and resentment. I was mad at the world. Why? Why did my dad have to die in this way? Why did he have to go at such a young age?
Those were questions I sat and said through my tears. I touched his hand. I kissed his forehead and remembered the dad that was. I remembered him strong. I remembered his huge arms that scared boys away. I remember his cowboy boots and endless amounts of shirts. He liked to dress that is for sure.
As this girl sat beside his bed I felt like a little girl all over again. I was confused and hurt. Why didn't someone tell me? Why didn't someone prepare me? I thought he was coming home. I thought he was fine. I knew he was sick, but no one was ever honest with me. We just never talked about it. But, then again, can you really prepare to lose your father?
Little did I know then, but before my dad died he accepted Christ as His Savior. A family member had a pastor come and visit my dad. He accepted the Savior that I would find later in my life. Now, I know why good bye words didn't seem to fit. We were not saying good bye, but see you again one day.
It took me years to let go of my anger and pain. Today if I let my flesh get to me I can still draw from that anger. I still miss him. I still remember like it was yesterday. After the memorial service I took my dad's ashes and walked down to the river. I opened them with great care and I remember even praying. Praying what I don't know. With tears I let his ashes slip through my hands into the wind, blowing into the river where he spent his evenings and weekends.
Even though I didn't know the Lord then, He knew me. I have no doubt in my mind He was in that room that day with me and my dad. The Lord was watching over me even when I didn't know Him. That is how great His love is. Where my earthly father is no longer here, my heavenly Father is. There is one thing about Him. He is never leaving me. Nothing can tear Him away from me. Not the sin of this world or the evil in it.
If pain is in your home, talk to your children. Talk to your family. Don't hold back truth. Be honest in those deepest struggles and move through the journey's together in love and faith. We don't have to walk through anything alone, we can reach out to others. Ask for help when you can no longer stand. Reach out for others to meet your needs. Don't worry about the right words. Just put your arms around each other and lean on the Lord. He will meet your greatest needs. Don't let your fears keep you from healing and living again.
I have kept my promise to my dad. I pray he can see me from heavens gates and look at me with pride. I know he is cheering me on. Oh, how I wish he were here. I would love to walk this journey of faith with him. One day we will sit together at the feet of Jesus and you know, just that makes it all worth it in the end. I don't have all the answers. I can't even begin to figure it all out. But, I know the One who can. I know He has a plan much bigger than I can see. He can take those hurts and turn them into healing. He can take our anger and turn it into peace. He can take our confusion and give us hope. Hope eternal.