Saturdays are sometimes the very best days to take a little time to unwind. The long work weeks have a way of draining me physically and mentally, but that is something I value. It is never a disappointment to come home from a long day to see the rewards.
Warm coffee, a peaceful song in my headphones to drown out the noise of a fussy kid, or kids, feeling the achiness within my body (which is aching more with each passing year), dim lights and peaceful thoughts. When I can, I embrace all that is good in these times. Reflecting back on the past few instances of the week and seeing that the frustration arising from them has passed. Just taking it all in.
It’s funny, since my family and I had gathered together at my dad’s place, going through all of his personal belongings, I have seen so much of him within myself. For the last two weeks I’ve had a very strange ‘peace’ within. As if his passing was somehow, relieving. I don’t totally understand it, but I believe I do understand to a certain point.
My father strived for peace within his life. I do know this much. Although, when he didn’t want to talk about something: the many somethings that I would usually initiate when we were speaking several years ago, he was very direct with his words, making sure that I knew I was getting into places of him that he did not want disturbed. And that is putting it lightly. My dad was something else! Of course, I have been, and am, much like him. The only difference, and this may be something that changed within him over the last three years during our little respite, but the difference between he and I was the steps that I took in order to change my negative attitude. I’m a work in progress, and I sometimes have to remove myself from people completely, but the processes have been successful. I praise God often for these changes within.
My father had a lot of positive attributes. I knew this as I saw what he had prepared for his children as all three of us went through his belongings. I have an older brother and sister, both from his previous marriage. My father, I believe, knew that he was reaching his last days. He had prepared personalized stacks of mementos, pictures and papers for each one of us. We found, in his handwriting, “To (his kid’s name), from Dad” on top of each of the stacks. Everything was neatly packaged and organized, and my aunt had told me that she, being the power of attorney and executor of his estate, had found our care packages tucked away within a bottom drawer of his dresser. I personally thought that was a very gentle and loving reflection of a man whom I had only known to be as a knucklehead for the majority of my life. Other things that we rummaged trough, like the music that he enjoyed, the beautiful paintings and pictures that hung upon his walls, the many houseplants, the lighting arrangements and the overall atmosphere was somehow, genetically and mysteriously, the same tastes that are right here within my life. The distant life that was usually separated from my dad throughout my adult years.
My dad loved the Lord. This I already knew, but I didn’t really see it like others did. But really, who am I to say who loves the Lord? Only the Lord knows the heart. I was never fortunate enough to talk about the Lord for very long with my dad. As I look back, I now see how much more spiritually mature he was than I three years ago. I was the one caught up within an abusive, live by law church, pointing out the many sins that he was guilty of, with a somehow superior dominion over him because my pastor and I knew exactly what a model Christian should be. Trust me, I’m still scarred from the damages of that season, have turned away from those harmful and misguided ways and now see that I am just a man, just like my father, who is covered by the blood. I am His work in progress, not a work of my own making. So, I saw the Bibles and study materials that he was deeply involved in, and heard from one of his lifelong friends at the funeral how knowledgeable he was when it came to Scripture. I learned that he was not the man that he once was in many ways. That made me very, humbly, glad for him and those around him.
I didn’t get to talk to my dad before he died. I didn’t speak to him at all for the last several years, but the past few weeks have spoken volumes. I trust that God had a better plan, and that plan involved the way that things have transpired. I’m okay with that. The past few weeks have allowed me to go through the ups and downs, the sorrows and absolutely strange and surreal feelings that accompany the death of others, the pleasant memories, and the bad, as well as the glory of God which shines upon all of it. Glory to God for these things!
“Consider it all joy, brothers and sisters, when facing trials of various kinds, knowing that faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4. I saw, as well as understood this within the last few weeks. I saw and understood it through the atmosphere of my father’s home, through the days during the viewing and funeral, through the words and body language of friends and family, through the peace and silence of the empty vessel my father left, through the emotions and comfort of His Spirit, and through the rewards of mediation, relaxation and thankfulness. Tonight, as I sit and look upon where I have been, where I am and how far I’ve come, and just how good this life is under His supervision, I rest assured that His provisions are never to harm. Rather, they are to strengthen. They are there to get me to where He will have me until I am perfected after this physical life has passed. That place where my daddy now rests. I will embrace the peace and love that He provides within this current moment, and continue to thank Him for allowing me the pleasure.