Thursday, July, 7, 2016 4:16 PM
I’ve gone down a slightly different path in my spiritual life. Although it is new it feels familiar. The attached emotions are buried deep. These passions entwine with the basic needs of the human condition: love, acceptance, relevance, connection, belonging… In fact, while this change seems profound, I still have no understanding about its destination. Please bear with me. I’m just going to tell the story without knowing the ending.
I recently lost my 83 year old Father to cancer.
He died well. He passed with integrity and with valor. He loved his family, his friends and his Lord right up to the end. I miss him. I’m proud to be his son.
My parents moved to Tennessee nearly 10 years ago. Mom and Dad knew that a decision to move south was in their best interests. They watched Father God clear an easy path. Their house sold in 3 days in a down market. Dad saw God’s hand sweep away every obstacle and the decision to move was confirmed to him as God’s idea. He loved Chattanooga immediately.
I was thrilled. I had been asking them to move closer for years. I had lived far away for them since age 17. They moved 15 minutes away. Mom’s health was an issue and eventually she was diagnosed with dementia. Dad triumphed as her care giver and grew ever closer to God. Despite those challenges they had some good years together. After Mom’s passing Dad continued pursuing a closer walk with the Lord. He was pretty amazing.
Among my many blessings – near the top of the list – was my renewed relationship with my Father. We talked nearly every day. We attended church together, we were in Bible studies together, and we watched football together. We were in each other’s life. I would pick up the phone to hear his voice, to get his advice, to tell him a story. He was my Father and my friend.
We found out he was terminally ill about 5 weeks before his death. It was tough to watch, but it was also a time rich in love. “Bittersweet” describes it well. I was ready to let him go and he was more than ready. His suffering was ending. His extreme joy was just ahead. So I was happy for him, but sad for me. Yep, bittersweet.
My intimate relationship with my Dad had lasted almost 10 years. Death put an end to that relationship. I may have been slightly irritated with the Lord on that score. I certainly was a bit sad. But that’s where my spiritual path took an unexpected turn that is proving to be a better gift than I ever imagined.