Life has been a whirlwind since my last post. I think I reached a point where I wasn't sure what else to say. I had to be still and listen for awhile. God speaks in the oddest of ways.
I have spent the last 3 days telling my father goodbye. Seems nearly impossible to say much more than that. But what I have experienced in the past 3 days is almost beyond my comprehension. The sadness, sorrow and pain of losing a parent is nothing you can explain until you have experienced it. Even if you HAVE said all that there is to say - it seems you think of just that one other thing you wanted to say...or do.
My father wasn't perfect - but for this one night - he was. Not just to me - but to many other people. The people he has spent the last 10 to even 20 years of his life with - remembering him, toasting him, sharing the stories of him. The stories have left a profound affect on me. I will never forget them and I am so thankful for the people who felt so moved to tell me how much my dad meant to them. Several of them, men even, crying as they spoke of him.
May 20, 2010...
I obviously didn't get finished with that post - originally written on April 28th - just 2 days after my father died. I think it was too hard. Not that reading it today makes it any easier. But I have learned so much about myself since then. And isn't it funny how you end up reading something at just the right time - to remind you of what it was you needed to know in the first place.
What I learned about my father was that he was loved. He was loved by many - because he seemed to love them - unconditionally and the least of them. He didn't care what they did - where they worked, what they looked like...he just loved them. The stories I heard were so moving to me - I stood there and cried. Because he just loved.
And this weekend - as I journeyed with my Lord Jesus Christ, on a long anticipated three day Walk to Emmaus - I learned that HE loves me. He loved those who were the most unlovable. I think my dad did that too. I think of some of the people I knew in his past - people who many would typically avoid...that is who he loved. I knew my dad loved me - I could hear it in his voice and see it in his soft blue eyes.
So I returned from the week of his funeral - realizing how incredibly blessed I am - like my father - to be loved by so many. I have the most amazing community of friends a person could ask for. They have been there for me - regardless of my many mistakes and poor choices in the past 2 years. They have helped me with my kids, made me food, called, sent cards, given me their company - many of them giving abundantly of their time and energy. NEVER expecting anything in return.
And now, after this weekend I realize I MUST love just like my dad loved, just like my friends love and most importantly just like my Lord Jesus Christ loved! Can I do that? Only with the ever present help of the Holy Spirit. But I will seek It and call out for It every morning - so that I can be the same love to others as they have been to me. So that they will see the difference in me. I didn't wait 10+ years for this Walk and it happen when it did by chance! It was God's time.
I was yanked back into reality when I heard something I simply didn't want to hear today. As my heart sank my instinct was to respond to the person who had caused the hurt - in my usual sarcastic, yet wanting a reaction way. And as I sit here - the pain still in my heart - I realize that they want the same thing I do- to be loved. So with my new eyes and heart - I try to handle it in a whole new way. I will love them in a new way - not the way I had planned, but as a child of God. Knowing that God has other plans for me. He has been trying to tell me this for over a year. It doesn't make the hurt go away - but I know that I will be okay - and that I have heard this for a reason. And God will show me how to handle it from here on out - as long as I seek Him.
What I am finding is that the choices we make every day will result in the love we give and the love we get. I will make my choices very carefully from now on. To be honest, open and to expect nothing less than what I know I am worthy of. So how do I learn to love abundantly as I am called to do - yet guard my heart from pain and hurt? Is this possible? Perhaps guarding my heart might just be the answer. I think the suitcase just got a lot lighter!