Saturday, May 05, 2007
A Normal Life
I'm not sure if I am there yet, but I'm trying hard to approach normalcy again. It's weird to realize that I just spent a week of my life dealing with death! My family has never focused on death. There is life, there is eternal life. Death is a moment between those two events.
The Memorial service yesterday was an amazing experience. Dad's friends from 3 different churches talked about his life and the impact that life had on them personally. But, one of them became a pastor, one of them works with youth, and another has been leading people to Jesus since she knew dad. His life affected these three people, who will, in turn encourage and change the life of others. That's a legacy!
Sonna Jennings from Sigourney has been a personal friend of our family for as long as I can remember. She invited people to come to Jesus. It didn't come from a pastor, it came from a woman who responded to an altar call many years ago. She was my mother's best friend and her son was my brother's friend. Their family soon became a part of my family. But, as she spoke yesterday, she asked us if we were confident that we would be in heaven were we to die. She remembered her training in Evangelism Explosion and has no fears when presenting the Gospel to those that might need it.
Yesterday was actually a time of healing for many past issues in our family. It's strange how we set things aside and don't even realize that there was a black hole in our hearts. A close friend of mine for many years had drifted far away from me. She came yesterday to honor the man that had given God back to her and to let me know that though we had drifted apart, her love for me was deep and very strong. Dad gave her back to me!
My junior high / high school boyfriend came. Alone. He drove up from Des Moines to be there for me. He loved my parents. He used to spend a lot of hours with mom - trying to escape the pain of a life that he was trying so hard not to live. He has lived a hard life since then. I have prayed for him over the years ... hoping that life would somehow be good to him. I loved him deeply ... 3 loves in my life ... he was the first. My heart was full when I saw him. Love never leaves ... it just adjusts to the circumstances. Dad gave him back to me.
I met the man who considered Dad his best friend ... like a brother. He was influential in dad's decision to become not only a pastor, but to attend Boston University. He introduced dad to my mother and then performed their marriage in the chapel at Boston University. He wept yesterday over the loss of a friend. I knew him only when I was a child, I haven't seen him in years. As we hugged, I realized that Dad was giving me a part of his past.
It was another chance to spend time with old friends and dad's extended family. Lots of cousins. Everytime I face another funeral with them, I realize that I need to find a way to keep them close to my heart. I love this family. Ok ... not all of them ... all of the time. But, they are my family. We have a lot of special people in common. Tragedy draws us together and reminds us that blood is thicker than water. Dad gave me that reminder.
We three kids spent a lot of time at Bell's Dell. Our friends and family were there with us. We spent time talking and playing, purging the place of junk and making plans for changes we want to see happen and will make happen on our own. We began planning trips up there with our friends. Trying to find a way to fill the place with laughter, fun and joy. Dad has given his three kids and his grandchildren a future.
This won't be the end of my thoughts about my father, but I hope to be done with the death. Remembering his life will be a phenomenal experience. I took for granted what he did in his life. I don't want to do that anymore. I want to express the pride that I have knowing that I am his daughter. I never want to be anything less than what he hoped for me. I want people to know Jesus because he taught me how to share the love of Jesus.
Sonna asked me for a poem by Edwin Markham that Dad used to recite. This is descriptive of my father ... and I believe is descriptive of the life I want to live. Oh, Lord ... I pray that I can become LOVE!
He drew a circle that shut me out -
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win;
We drew a circle that took him in.