Friday, October 14, 2011

Missing Dad

“…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”  Psalm 30:5 (KJV)

Today is Dad’s birthday.  I guess I will always think about him a little more than usual on this date every year.  Not that he isn’t always a part of my thinking, and not that he doesn’t always occupy a precious spot in my heart reserved just for him. 

Dad was a very humble, unassuming man, and he never cared much whether we made an occasion out of his birthday or not.  But, Kevin and I always tried to make his birthday extra-special.  Dad loved to eat, and we spent many happy birthdays in restaurants he enjoyed. 

Dad and Kevin had a special bond.  Long before the “redneck” jokes, Dad would often call at suppertime and ask Kevin, “Jeet jet?” (In everyday English, did you eat yet?).  It was a long-running joke between the two of them, and that is just the way Dad spoke. 

Dad has been gone from us for over 11 years now.  His home going to Heaven left a huge, gaping hole in all of our hearts.  It is amazing how much I still miss him.  He had suffered with so many physical ailments for so long, it came as such a shock when he left us.  I guess we had become accustomed to his chronic illnesses, so we assumed the last time he entered the hospital would end like all the times before….he would get better and come home.

One of the most perplexing mysteries of my life is the fact that Dad never got to meet Zachary.  I was 11 ½ weeks along in my pregnancy when God called Dad home.  I remember the day Kevin and I knelt by our sofa, praying to God for our unborn child.  Dad had just died, and our hearts were not only grieving over losing him, but over the fact that he would not be there when our baby was to be born six months later.  I remember how hard I cried as I listened to Kevin asking God to somehow let the spirit of the unborn child he was sending to us connect with Dad’s spirit that had departed and was on its way back to Him.  I guess it sounds like an unusual and far-fetched way to pray, but it was so heartfelt and somehow, it comforted me to think that their paths could possibly cross.  Zachary and Dad would have loved each other so much.  I am amazed at how much they are alike, and how much Zach reminds me of Dad.  So, maybe somehow, God answered that prayer.

I miss baking Dad a birthday cake and doing little things for him.  I know he is enjoying eternal bliss far beyond anything I could ever do for him, and the treasures of Heaven far outweigh any earthly joy.  I know he would not come back if God gave him the choice, and he is in a place where there is no more pain.  If he could send me a message, I think he would tell me not to grieve.  I can just hear him urging me to stay true to God and to be faithful, because he surely wouldn’t want me to miss what he is enjoying right now. 

I can only imagine his face when he first saw Heaven.  One time, he flew from where we lived in Florida to his home-state of Tennessee to attend a funeral.  I remember he was so excited when he called to tell me about the flight.  He kept saying how I wouldn’t believe it and it was just gigantic.  Imagine how he felt when he first saw what God has prepared for those who love Him!  I don’t know all of the ins and outs about where we immediately go when we die in the Lord.  I’ve heard many theories, but we know that believers, who die, definitely go to a place of rest.  And we know that on that final Judgment day, Heaven will be their eternal home.  It gives me great comfort to know that Dad is resting, that he isn’t hurting, that the deep worry lines on his face have all been erased, and he is safe with Jesus.

I guess I would never bring him back…even if I had the power.  It would be a most selfish thing to do, when I consider the troubled life he had to live.  If anyone ever deserved Heaven, it was Dad.  I miss him terribly…but I am so thankful to know Jesus is looking out for him now.  He would have turned 77 today.  Now he is in a place where he will never grow old. 

So, “Happy Birthday, Dad”.  I wish I could sing it to you, one more time.  Lord willing, one special day, we will sing together again….with the angels. 

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