"Death, Where Is Your Sting?"
This isn’t my first post about my dad. And it probably won’t be the last because the saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” could not be any more real.
I would have always described myself as a “daddy’s girl” considering we enjoyed playing golf, watching golf on lazy Sunday afternoons after church, intimidating any school crush I had until he fled, and I would always prefer a hike over a tea party. After his near death experience, our family started enjoying each other’s company, staying close to home and soaking up family time. It was all fun to me until I started becoming “too cool” for game nights. Naturally, as a teenager, I pushed away my dad (especially when he convinced me to consider dumping my boyfriends), because duh, I knew better…
He was nothing but Jesus to me and outlived the gospel in our home, the community, and doing business overseas. What a divine relationship that I was chosen to be his daughter.
Although some memories I repressed and try to never remember- such as the pity fights- thankfully they are overwhelmed with so many positive memories:
Dad, remember that one time you were teaching me how to ski in the Austrian Alps when I was 6 years old and I would cry every time I fell? I was reminded that you just have to laugh and shake it off. Laughing through my wails, I stood up and licked my tears and snot and kept skiing.
And that one time that you had the brilliant idea to have the original Lemonade Sale at our home in Beaufort. I was just excited about making the lemonade and of course you and your financial brain turned it into a “how to make money” lesson on investing, saving, and working- I was five.
One of my favorites, however, took place when we went to the Swiss Alps near Jungfrau, Switzerland. The train was main transportation everywhere. After our extensive hike, you gave me the option to ride back on the train with my two younger brothers & my mom, or taking a seven mile walk with you through forests, and fields. I hesitated but felt the urge to spend that quality time with you. Seven miles turned into two hours of talking, sharing ideas and aspirations and what we wanted to be when we grew up. Running into wild cows, nearly extinct plant life, streams, and incredible creation, time passed by so quickly.
Dad was an adventurer. He valued challenging himself, his mind, and his expectations (hence the reason why our family traveled the world). After dad’s kidney transplant I was convinced he, like everyone else, that their father was here for good. I was then reminded quickly that I was in fact very wrong.
Dad had gone climbing with a good friend in Asheville, North Carolina on January 2nd and was in the process of belaying himself on a climb. Exactly then the Lord had called him Home and dad triumphed through the accident; so much so that instead of waking up in a hospital, he woke up in front of golden and royal gates.
It took me a while to process the accident only because it was so sudden. There was no way for me to prepare for the life that I now was pushed into. The Lord has completely molded me from being bitter, angry, and isolated to overcoming this experience in my life. I am not defined by my circumstances. What an offer it is that I am able to go through a story that I can share with others- a wake up call.
Confession: I got tired of hearing “the Lord has a plan for you” (Jeremiah 29:11) and “the Lord won’t give you more than you can handle.” because although the Lord does have an almighty plan, it’s the most discouraging phrase to hear when you don’t agree or like it. And the second statement is completely false. My dad dying was not God’s wrath. Nor was it any sort of punishment. Instead, it’s an opportunity to cling to Jesus because in reality, that’s all I really have. You can have love, but lose the reminder. “Bad” things are allowed to happen because they offer us a new, and more beautiful perspective, of the life we are given.
Dad is with Jesus, I’m pumped to be there with them. I’m more mature because of my situation. I miss him tremendously, but what a motivation.
Challenge #1: What “bad” situation are you facing right now? Is it really “bad?” This question isn’t to persuade you that people have it worse, it’s to challenge you that “what Satan intends for harm, the Lord intends for good.” (Genesis 50:20)
Challenge #2: Who is it in your life that you are grateful for? That you want to ask questions? That has impacted your way of thinking?
Tell them. Now. Don’t say you have tomorrow.
Proverbs 27:1 “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”
Because the Lord forced me to investigate my heart, I can now say, “It is well with my soul!”