On the drive to work this morning, I thought quite a bit about my dad. He’s on my heart for several reasons. Tomorrow would have been his 79th birthday. He died 3 1/2 years ago on my 44th birthday. This past weekend my sister-in-law lost her father too. Anytime a loved one or a friend loses a parent, my heart hurts for the ones they’ve left behind and I also think of the passing of my own parents. I guess that’s pretty normal.
This morning, I thought again of how different losing my dad was from losing of my mom. Four years before he passed, my dad had a life altering stroke and was never completely himself again. In so many ways, we grieved the loss of him long before he left this earth. It was a strange and heartbreaking process.
Prior to my dad’s stroke he was a fiercely independent, “young” 72 year old. My dad was a private man and I could never quite figure out where he stood with the Lord. After his stroke, it was hard to find anything good coming out of a situation that leaves a person bedridden for four years. However, beyond what my natural eyes could see, I began to see this sucky situation with my spiritual eyes: my stubborn, independent dad was now God’s captive audience. He had lots of thinking time, lots of alone time, lot’s of time to ask questions, lots of time for much needed, long overdue, tug of war matches with his Creator. I prayed about this quite a bit: redeem even this, Lord!
As I thought about this process again, I remembered a conversation I had with his caretaker, Frances, about 3 months before his death. I blogged about it at the time.
A few weeks ago, I called Frances as I was driving home from work and she told me that my dad had been talking with God all day long. As soon as she said this, my heart was filled with hope. My dad never talks to God.
After we hung up the phone I began to pray. Lord, nothing is impossible for You. I hope my dad was talking to you and I hope you were talking to him. No one is so far gone (not physically, not spiritually, not mentally) that God is unable to reach them.
“I once was lost, but now I’m found.
Was blind, but now I see.”
Could it be, Lord, in our lost minds, we are truly found? Maybe the route to redemption is that ridiculous. Because Jesus has a track record of showing up right in the middle of crazy, right in the middle of impossible, right in the middle of our hopeless looking circumstances. He enters our chaos and invites us to calm. He enters our pain and covers us in peace. In our gaping lacks we discover overflowing love.
Speak to us, Lord. Meet us in the crazy and offer us the cross.
And I will say it again and claim it again today: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
A few days before my dad passed, he told his caretaker that he wanted to go home. Frances assumed he meant his home he had to leave when he had his stroke, the one he had begged to go back to every day…for years. Yet, when she asked him if that was the home he was referring to he responded, “No…I want to go home.”
This morning I had the image of Lieutenant Dan, a character from the movie Forrest Gump come to mind. I thought about the scene where Lieutenant Dan “made his peace with God.” For some reason, it reminded me of my dad and the road that ultimately led…home.