Friday, July 24, 2009

Thinking

I thoroughly enjoy eating the sourdough french toast from the Cracker Barrel. As a matter-of-fact, I also am quite fond of their grits with some of that yummy syrup that they serve in their special tiny bottles. The ambiance in the restaurant is fun, too. That reminds me of the old-fashioned candy they sell there and how my brother and I used to pick some out after we ate breakfast on a weekend trip somewhere with our parents.

This is how my thought process operates most days. My girlfriend left on a weekend vacation this morning. She happened to mention that she was meeting her brother at Cracker Barrel before they head off to their destination. My mind naturally went to the food I enjoy there. Quickly, my thoughts became consumed with my dad. Dad was the first person to take us to the Cracker Barrel.

We enjoyed playing the peg game they have sitting on the tables. He liked all the little phrases written on the game which labeled you according to how many pegs you were left with. "Your just plain dumb" is one I remember his contagious laugh hanging on.

Not a day goes by where I don't think about my dad. Life is forever altered in a way I never anticipated. I think about him when I drive to Mokena. When Nikelle chooses to sing "Joy to the World" in the middle of the summer, I think about how Dad wouldn't have allowed that with me. Christmas was sacred (well, maybe that's extreme). Little things like the girls being tickled remind me of "Papa" and how he never knew when enough was enough. Menards. Restaurants. When the house is in need of repairs. A friend talking about their dad. Friends referring to their dads as "Papa".

Life goes on for everyone. Including me. It is an altered life that I am aware of daily. Rod can completely relate to me. It's unfortunate that we both experienced this reality of losing our dads at the same time. And yet, it is comforting. Comforting to know I can talk to Rod about how I am feeling and he understands. I don't always feel that people understand. More and more I realize how there are so many out there who have lost a parent (or worse - spouse, child...). I've simply been oblivious to it all.

I know God has made me a better person through this pain. It doesn't change the fact that I often wish He could have changed me through some other way. One thing I'm learning. Bad things happen. God cares. He understands. I really believe He hurts, too, when we hurt. I also am learning that Romans 8:28 holds very true.

"And we know that in ALL things God works together for the good of those who love Him who are called according to His purpose."

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