Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Father's Day

During the early years of my growing up, I did not appreciate my father. He was often an angry, impatient and unpredictable person…not especially sensitive to his wife or children. The stresses of trying to make a 40-acre farm provide for a family of 7 did not help the situation, either, and although I desperately sought his approval, I never felt I measured up to his expectations.
My parents made sure that we children attended Sunday School, and we often attended our local church. There, I acquired a different view of fatherhood. I saw God as a Father…the father I was missing at home…and I desperately sought His approval, but I was pretty sure I didn’t have that, either.
Then, during the middle years of my growing up, that all changed. At the age of 24, married with a little daughter of my own, I finally met my Heavenly Father when I read that I was “accepted in the Beloved”…His own Son, who died for me! He forgave me and loved me in spite of all I had done to Him.
That changed my perspective on my own father…and the ways I had failed to respect and obey him. One of the hardest things I have ever done was to go to him and ask his forgiveness for my failure as a daughter.
Fast forward to the most recent years of my growing up…
Over the past 10? or 15? years, my Dad has been growing, too. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s…Dad has had hip replacements and major back surgery, his own health is precarious…and something wonderful has happened. He has met his Father, too, and I can see the resemblance more and more every day.
The impatient, unpredictable man I called “Dad” is now my mother’s chief caregiver. He cooks for her, helps her dress, monitors her medications, changes the dressings on the ulcers on her legs. He is patient, kind and gentle. He is committed to caring for her to the best of his ability. Tomorrow when our family celebrates Father’s Day, we will also celebrate my parents’ 65th wedding anniversary…and I will thank my Father in Heaven for giving me just the right father here on earth.


selahV said...

I could easily have written a great deal of what you said here about your relationship with your dad. Mine wasn't mean. He just wasn't there. He was busy serving the community in our Volunteer Fire Department, Rescue Squad, the American Legion and other things.
Everybody always said, "your daddy is the most wonderful man." I believed them through my younger years. I idolized him. But I couldn't get close to him. There was always some barrier between us. If it wasn't the newspaper, it was his hunting and volunteer work.

He was just never home except for suppertime. and then we were not allowed to talk at the table.

God changed my dad, too. I do appreciate him today for what he did and forgive him for what he didn't know any better about. He so regrets not being there for me and for my two elder brothers.

It was a different time. He had never learned what being a father meant until he saw us grow up and watched us be parents that did spend time with our kids. Now he lies near death in a nursing home far far away and wishes he had us close enough that we could drop by. Now he has time, and distance is our barrier. Sad. But the brighter side is that someday when we all get to heaven all the barriers will be removed and we will not even have the memory of those we could not climb.

God bless you on this special day. selahV

Elder's Wife said...

Hi Selahv-
It's been a long day, lunch for my folks, an open house for my siblings and their children & grandkids...but it's been great!
I have been reflecting on the things God uses to not only bring us to Himself, but to make us like His Son. And they are not the things we would have chosen. I'm sure Dad would never have chosen to see his wife slowly sliding into the abyss of Alzheimer's. He would not have chosen crippling arthritis or cancer, but God has used those very things to direct him to Himself and to conform him to Christ.
Father knows best.

selahV said...

I've often thought, since my son died, how much closer I've gotten to the Lord, how much better I see Him working, how much more insignificant things are that use to be so significant. I am grateful for the better things I've learned. I'm just sad that it took such devastation to bring me to this place. While I watch how his death affected others and was used to change them, I am not so generous to have given my son as my Father was in giving His.

Why must it take these things to change us? why must we be so stubborn?


elder's wife said...

There are no easy answers for those questions. I guess we just have to trust God, even when we don't understand why He does the things He does.