Wednesday, March 9, 2011

my dad....

original post August 5, 2010

Doing life is not an easy endeavor.  Many times we think by processing and walking the journey on our own it is easier and less painful  -and maybe less humiliating – than opening up and trying to share together.  But there is nothing more beautiful and healing than inviting others into your own personal mess. I’ve learned that lesson many times over in the last 36 plus years of my life.  I have seen it a thousand times over the past three years in ministry at The Crossing.  But when it comes to me, the introvert that I am, I tend to think I can handle it on my own.  God shows me that I am wrong.
It was January of this year. A Monday evening. It was cold outside.  The car was quiet on the way to my parent’s house.  The warm air inside our mini-van was as chilled and sharp as it was outside.  An evening I cannot get out of my memory. My dad had called my older brother and I along with our wives to visit him and mom that night.  Teresa and I both knew the visit wasn’t going to include any good news.
It was that night that my father choked out the words while holding his tears back that the doctors had diagnosed him with pancreatic cancer.  They told him he had four to six months to live.  The news was harder to hear that I imagined. It felt like those moments that night extended to early in the morning but it was just a couple of hours.  Tears, silence, hugs, and words of comfort filled the rest of the time.  I think that night was the hardest night of my life…as an individual, husband, father, brother and son.  My dad just told me he was going to die.
I sit here almost seven months later.  That night in January feels like ‘last night’ each day since.  I still can hardly process those words he spoke.  But I have taken advantage of the time God has granted us.  Earlier on it was doing breakfast.  We had great conversations…many times dad just talking about his childhood and sharing stories about life and others that had impacted his life.  Now, as the cancer has spread and has robbed his strength and health, it is spending time with him at home.  Sharing with him about day to day stuff.  Sitting with him as he naps throughout the day.  And simply just being there.
It’s been a long seven months emotionally.  I don’t want to lose my dad.  While I know that all of us have our days numbered, it just not what I want for my 67 year old father.  At the same time, I am excited for him.  All I remember is dad serving in ministry and giving all he has and all he is to others so they would be introduced to Christ.  Heaven is his reward.  Only God knows that exact time he will leave the confines of this earthly shell and enter the sprawling heavenly home where he will be reunited with friends and family and heroes from the Bible and Jesus.  God knows the moment when he will bow at His feet and hear the words ‘well done my good and faithful servant’.
 It will be that moment that where every fiber of my being will mourn the loss of my dad, the loss of his voice in my ears, his hugs, his smile. But it will also be the moment that I will utter the words of ‘welcome home dad’. Because in my soul I will be rejoicing with dad –and jealous of him!- for he gets to see the glory of God, he will receive the reward for which he unselfishly gave much here on earth for. 
I am so proud of my dad.  He is coming up on the end of the path he has chosen.  A path that I know he had to choose many directions and forks in the way, but a path that has crossed with many other lives that he have touched and help start on the right spiritual path. I can only hope to live unselfishly as his legacy proves.
I have shared this news with a few people close to me.  They have been an amazing source of strength through thoughts and prayers.  It now feels like the right time to share this story to more people.  I’m going to start sharing this with others.  To let people in and walk along with me through this season.   I post this simply because this blog should be about me and who I am.  Another step to being real.  A vital part of doing life in community.



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