Thursday, June 18, 2009

Father's Day

Is it possible that it's been almost 6 months since you left? In a strange way it seems like I was just talking to you and yet it also feels like it's been a lifetime. How is that possible? I never got to tell you, because of course we couldn't have known at the time, that the last conversation I had with you was your greatest gift to me.

It was December 27, I was getting ready to run out the door when you called. I was busy with life and the kids and at the time was wanting the conversation to be quickly over because I thought I had more important things to do.

But you didn't notice. You never noticed how distracted I could be. That used to always make me crazy but I am so glad you didn't notice this time.

I can still hear your voice. I am so glad for that.

You got right to the point because you had something you needed to tell me. True to your style, you didn't segway into what was on your heart. That used to bother me, but I learned that was just your way; the uniqueness of you.

Your last words to me are written on my heart -the greatest kindness. I want you to know that.

Here is what you said, I know you remember, but time here has a funny way of slipping away - you know that too. I must write your words down because I don't want to forget. I must never forget.

"I just want to tell you how much I love you and how proud I am of you, honey. I want you to know I couldn't be more proud of you. The way that you and Jim are raising your children to love God makes me so happy. There is nothing that could make me happier than to know that you are raising up your children, my grandchildren, to know and love the Lord. I want you to know that those years after your mom died were tough years, but they were also wonderful years with you girls. Those high school years with you and Cheri are some of my most precious memories. I think back to the trips we took together and they just have meant so much to me. I just wanted you to know that. Lori, I love you. "

I told you I loved you. I told you how thankful I was for your words, how much we were looking forward to our visit - only one week away now. We would all be together, with Cheri, to celebrate a belated Christmas. We would celebrate your birthday and Brooke's too. I had to go but would call before we left for our visit. "Thanks dad, love you."

"Love you too."

I thought about the strange wonderfulness of the conversation all the next day. It was so out of the blue - but that was how you tended to be. We were gone all day, didn't get home until late - no chance to get a phone call from you or to you that day.

The next day Sandy left early for work. You were sleeping when she left; December 29th.

I was entertaining company when the call came.

I always thought I would somehow know the minute you left - that I would feel the absence of you; but I didn't. What was I doing when you crossed from this side of the veil into the next? What was that glorious moment like for you? How could I not feel your journey from this home to that one; your long awaited home. How could my soul not sense you seeing mom after 28 years, or seeing grandma again?

You were gone. It happened sometime in the morning. You were fine and then you were gone. I wasn't ready for that. You were only 67. We were all supposed to be together the next week - we were together, all of us, just not how I planned.

You would have been proud of Cheri and me. And of Sandy, oh dear Sandy. She loved you so well and felt your loss so hard. I know you would have wished it different for her sake. You would have been proud of Shawn and Lisa - how they loved her through it all.

I attended to the details - the myriad of details. I was so thankful for the job. It was a beautiful service - I thought I felt you there when I spoke. Were you allowed to glimpse it? I believe you were, but absent of sorrow somehow.

I loved you in those details. I know you know that. It was my last act of love to you. It was all I had left. When there were no details left and you were gone, I mourned.

I really only wanted to tell you how much that last conversation meant to me. How often I have said to myself, I will never doubt God's love for me again, because He allowed me that final conversation, the blessing I could have never asked for, that you freely gave. Everything a daughter would want to hear said - I heard from your lips.

Thank you daddy.

I feel your absence and miss you dearly,

Your Lori

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Sometimes things just don't turn out the way you plan. In fact, most of the time our lives seem to take a detour from the road we thought we were traveling on. Thankfully the majority of the detours are not big ones, just small enough to be annoying and consistent enough to remind us that we are not in control of our circumstances just in control of our responses to our circumstances.
This is one of those small detours:

We were set to head home from our wonderful vacation at beautiful Lake Chelan, Washington. We had just finished our good-byes to our guests, piled into our car, and I began backing up.

The worst part about mistakes is looking back over them after an "event" has occurred and recognizing the turning point which, if done differently, would have resulted in an "uneventful" occurrence, and when one is referring to a car trip uneventful is generally preferable to an eventful one.

My turning point was when I actually said to my kids, "there is so much stuff in this car I can't even see out the back window." Actually, I suppose the turning point was when I didn't stop and immediately rearrange the junk in the car, but continued to back up.

Now, my car has a fool-proof (not quite, as we shall see) system for backing up. It beeps at the people in the car to alert everyone that the car is positioned precariously close to disaster. As the car moves closer to the object, the car "beeper" grows louder and the beeps closer together. Apparently, it also provides the driver (that would be me) with a false sense of security. I realize that I have been trusting in my fail safe beeper to keep me out of trouble. The problem with my built in signal is that if an object is, say attached and extending from a car, like a bike rack, for instance (hypothetically speaking, of course) and if it is located high enough on the vehicle it simply won't register.

What a great reminder that accidents do happen. We can choose to get all bent out of shape and be upset about it or we can just accept what happened, learn from our mistakes, and move on.

I had my kids with me in the car when we all heard the splintering glass. Jim was nearby in his truck. We both got out of our vehicles, looked things over, repacked my over packed backseat, said how thankful we were that we didn't do any damage to the other vehicle (not even a little scratch or anything) and went out to pizza with our kids.

Later that evening I had some time to reflect on the events of that day. I hope my kids learned that everyone makes mistakes. Thankfully this was a relatively small, albeit inconvenient lapse in judgment. I hope my children realized that we may not get to choose our detours, but we certainly can choose how we react to them. Beating ourselves up, or having a sullen attitude is unprofitable at best and at worst teaches everyone around us that at our core we don't believe God's plan in everything that occurs is truly the best.

I hope that when the bigger mistakes come, as they no doubt will, that my children will be quick to remember that this too is God's best for them. Learn from it, move on, but most of all accept it from the hand of a wise and loving Father who knows exactly what we need, and loves us enough to give us what we need, not what we want.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mercy and Love

Thank you Lord, for being rich in mercy and great in your love. Thank you that your love is no idle thing - it is constant in its motion, certain in its expectation, and passionate in its desire.

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ, and raised us up with Him, seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:4-7

I love that this passage demonstrates, through all three verb tenses, the active work of God's love - unfettered by time.

God of my fathers, God of my children, help me to always remember - The God of my salvation is also the God of my sanctification. Stifle the competing voices - the ones who tempt me to believe that my worth is based on my performance - as if I could offer you anything.

Thank you for your patient love, reminding me that you are God of all. You are not angered by my questions, or frightened by my insolence, and do not reject me when I am found wanting. This alone is more than enough and yet there is more. You are a prodigious God- loving more lavishly, with more liberality than I can fathom; unashamed to be my God. Your mercy is ever present and always at work - And you are good.