Thursday, November 29, 2007

Conversation with Dad

Nikelle loves surprises. As I dropped her off at school yesterday, I informed her that there would be a surprise when I came back to pick her up. I told Jaycie of our plans after she woke up from her nap. When Nike walked out of her classroom and inquired of her surprise, I encouraged Jaycie to share it with her. “What is it JJ?” Nike squatted down to inquire of her little sister. “Papa”, Jaycie whispered. Nikelle’s eyes lit up the same way Jaycie’s did when hearing of the news. There were no complaints about not being able to play on the hill after school, as we jumped in the van to see my parents.

Mom called earlier in the day to tell me to bring my VCR with me. Dad had just cleaned theirs and it was working better. Since we have the same players, he thought he would do the same for ours if I would just bring it along. This little gesture lifted my heart in a way I cannot explain in words. Dad fixing my VCR: this is normal and there are so many days I just long for a little feeling of normal.

As the girls and I drove to Mokena, we sang songs. My heart just hasn’t been into the Christmas music this year as it generally is. For the first time this Christmas season, my heart was with the music yesterday. Christmas and my Dad. They almost go hand-in-hand.

This is something Dad talked to me about. Whether he should live or die, he wants us to remember to celebrate Christmas. He’s looking forward to celebrating with us this year. Still, the reality of the aggressiveness of this cancer looms. I informed him that I remember everything about the Christmas traditions he held so tightly to. I’ve already been writing them down this year for comfort.

Mom played with my girls in the dining room. I sat a distance away from Dad and talked with him for quite some time. (The room is set up so he has his sofa and we can come visit as long as we don’t have close contact with him.) One topic of conversation was “the farm”. Tears fell from my eyes as I informed him that I honestly don’t see myself enjoying the farm without him. The tears well up in my eyes even now at the thought.

Life without my dad: it’s a reality I do my best not to think about. He quoted Philippians 1:21 “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” While it is a comfort to know there is the hope of heaven, I shared with him that it’s us left here on earth for which my heart aches. He responded with “You’ll blink and this life will be over. Time on earth here will pass quickly. Really, it will.” (Today I read 2 Peter 3:8 in the One-Year-Bible reading which states “But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.” That was comfort straight from God confirming Dad’s words yesterday.)

Still, I hate that this reality is in our face every day. My heart hurts continually when I think of what tomorrow might hold. As I reiterated to him last night, I can only live for today. I at least find comfort that this is Biblical (Matthew 6:34). My heart and mind cannot cope with the future. He said it’s the potential for pain that makes it so difficult to think past today. I’m pretty sure he’s hit the nail on the head.

There was conversation about God’s power and how we know He can heal Dad if He chooses to. I shared with Dad how I am praying for God to show us that “He is the Lord” by healing him. Dad asked me what it means if he doesn’t survive this battle with cancer. He wants to be certain that I realize God is God even if he leaves this earth. I gave him assurance that I know God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). I do understand the reality that he may not be with us next year. Yet, I still choose this hope to carry me through today (James 5:15-16).

I will forever treasure this conversation with my Dad last night whether I can continue to have more conversations like these or not with him.

“Therefore, I will always remind you about these things – even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live. For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life, so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.” – 2 Peter 1:12-15

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. Your dad's words are a comfort even as I consider future loss of my own. However your dad's story goes, I am glad God has given you the gift of this conversation this season.