Saturday, June 17, 2006

Missing it

We took the kids to my dad's grave for the first time last week. I've been there several times and it always tugs at my heart. I stare at his nameplate and think, "Oh Dad, you were so young." Having the kids there with us reminded me of everything he will miss. He would have loved to hear about Keygan's first car and his summer jobs. He would have admired how pretty Kelsi is getting and gotten a kick out of her forthrightness. He would have noticed how tall Tanner is and Keeli's pictures would have found a place on his fridge. It makes me sad to think he won't see any of his grandkids graduate from high school or get married. My brothers will probably have children he'll never see. My kids won't have the privilege of hearing his laugh or silly phrases.

Of course, with Father's day coming up I've thought about him a lot. I've been wearing a pair of earrings every day this week that were a special Christmas gift from him. I bought all the stuff to make chocolate pie--his favorite--but I can't bring myself to make it yet. And I've thought a lot about the question of salvation. He professed belief in Jesus. He answered all the "right" questions correctly. Yet I always wondered about him. I didn't think I saw "fruits" in his life. His behavior did not suggest to me a serious commitment to God. He smoked most of his life, liked his beer and enjoyed going to the races and "the boats" (for those of you not familiar with the lingo, the casinos in Council Bluffs). I didn't think a "real" Christian would do those things. Now I feel so stupid.

Now I realize he displayed other, way more important things in his life. He was one of the most NON-judgmental people I know. He was kind to people and didn't insist on his own way. (I can just see him now, shrugging his shoulders and saying, "whatever".) I can't imagine he ever had an enemy. I'm confident that most of the people I grew up with would say he was a good guy. He had a GREAT sense of humor. When he was well, he enjoyed life. He didn't get angry. I think I could count on one hand the times I saw him mad. He was the polar opposite of greedy. Though he didn't always express it well, family was important to him. I look over that list and see the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. How could I have missed that? Who do I think I am?

I'm sorry, Dad, for thinking you had to fit my mold. I'm sorry if I made you feel you were not good enough. You weren't perfect, but I loved you. I love you. I understand your heart leaned toward God. Forgive me for not giving you enough credit. I hope you can see how much I miss you.

Lord Jesus, forgive me for seeing his speck and not my log. Who else do I do this to? What damage do I cause? How can I prevent myself from doing this in the future?

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Matthew 7:1-2)


Kara Bird said...

That was an amazing post... and a tought one. I don't have much else to say, but I wanted to say thanks for being honest, and I've been thinking about you and praying for you a lot today.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Great post. Your honesty conveyed your feelings well. Edie always tells me that hindsight is 20/20. We get so caught up in our lives that we don't stop to really look at things from different points of view. I judge people without waiting a heartbeat. That verse about the speck in a brother's eye and the log in mine always speaks to me. Thanks for getting so personal!

steph said...

Your father will get to see you, and your children and how wonderful they turned out on that Glorious Day that we are all looking forward to. Until then, remain strong. I'll pray for you and keep you in my heart.
P.S. I've always liked that verse about a the speck and the log; it's so direct and alsmot...convicting. It gives me the shudders. It's good to be humbled.

Dena said...

this one made me cry. you are very very very lucky. your dad sounds kind of like my cousin, well a lot like my cousin. you are so lucky because he got to have a family, he got to have children and get married. he even knew his grandkids (even though they're not all here yet). i was very worried about jason's faith too, but at his funeral i was amazed at the stories that were surfacing, about how seriously he was starting to take his faith. after hearing that a huge calm and feeling of piece came over me. that even he was finding peace with God, even though it was for such and incredibly short time (and maybe not as in depth as most of us), but...i think he was being brought in, none of us knew (not even him) that he would be leaving us in the middle of the night, and especially the horrible way he did. God knew though, he prepared him, and took him when he needed to bring him home.
sorry for writing so much.

Anonymous said...

I'm crying. -Becca

edie said...

I'm sorry I didn't think about this being your first fathers day -leave it to you to learn something profound in your pain and then share it so we can learn too. Your mold is my mold - we aren't just limiting others but God also and the way He works in others. Love you!

Anonymous said...

This is beautiful-
Michelle A.

Anonymous said...


I just read your story about your Dad and I am amazed at how well you could write it. I'm sure your Dad knows how much you loved him and still do. I know it is hard but to be able to take your kids to his grave and get thru that is great. Keep doing it and by the way, I think you should go ahead and bake that chocolate pie....just for yourself and your Dad and your family. He sure would love it. I loved your story and don't know how you did it, but it brought tears and I miss him greatly. Love Aunt Jeanie

Anonymous said...

I dropped a note in connection with
the story about your dad but I guess I put it on Distinctint Notes which was not correct. I must admit, I had an extremely good cry about your story, I know it took much courage on your part to write it and I know your dad would really love it that you wrote it. I sincerely believe he knows how much you cared. I really miss him, love and respect him so very much, it seems I think of him every day. Take care and I will continue to pray for him and you each day.

Love, Aunt DeLoris