As you read this I am on my way to California.
I’ll leave my cozy cottage nestled in the woods and spend a few days at my sister’s house in the sunshine.
And since she’s about the best decorator/home creator I know, I will no doubt spend every spare minute oohing and ahhing over beauty. I’ll take pictures and make notes and go home full of ideas for creating loveliness. We’ll stay up too late and she’ll get up too early to go to her job that is really a calling. (remind me to tell you that story some day— for all of you who work hard to help people. But for now, follow her on Pinterest for design inspiration! @darcyscott)
But that’s now why I’m going.
My dad— the one I’ve written stories about is sick. Very sick.
A bittersweet journey.
I’ll tuck my parents into their sweet red Lexus (another story about love I’ll need to be sure to tell you soon), load in their luggage and their dog and Dad’s great big oxygen concentrator, and we’ll head north. I’ve got John Mark’s podcasts on heaven loaded and ready for listening.
And I’ve got myself ready too- for remembering and reminding and reminiscing.
I’ll remember all those stories still vivid in my mind…
Of Dad at the wheel of our Opel sedan, setting off to discover strange and intriguing ands while we lived in Germany. How a poor farm boy choose to succeed by hard work and loyalty. How my mom made every adventure seem magical, green Bedecker guide books always open as she rooted our imaginations in history.
We’ll reminisce about those days of discovering Jesus for the first time. When a traffic jam made us want to go to that church causing the long wait. Why, we wondered, were so many people headed to that warehouse? And how, over the next months, one by one, the five of us each walked down the aisle with “Just As I Am” playing softly in the background. We’ll talk about how Jesus changed everything. How the best stories started then.
I’ll remind them what they know, but need to know again, that Dad is not really dying, though his body will soon. That eternal life is just that- eternal, forever, uninterrupted, ceaseless. That he will step into the presence of the One who changed our lives by His own death. That One we love because He loved us first— that One whose love made it possible for us to love each other even in all the ups and downs of our own brokenness.
And I want to talk and imagine and dream about what life will be like when Jesus comes back to redeem all of creation once again.
Because hope for what’s really ahead brings hope for the hard steps before we get there.
And those hard steps are getting closer now. We won’t have Dad much longer. While we do I want to drink him in, to make more stories, to bring my grandboys and grandgirls to sit by his side as I did as a little girl. I want them to feel the safety of who he is. I want them to know that they belong to him, that his faithful love courses through their veins, giving them a bent towards courage and greatness.
I want my children to remember the kind of man who is their heritage so that when life gets hard they know to put one foot in front of the other just like Papa and then to just keep giving and loving and taking care of their own.
From my heart,
P.S. I am hoping that some of you who live near me can meet my dad before he goes there. I long to share him with some of the young men I know who’ve never seen his kind of faithfulness up close and I want young women to know the kind of man who loves for a lifetime. I want you to see why I wish everyone had a dad like mine.
(photo by Bethany Small)