Saturday, December 31, 2011

the best gift

Every year I say I am going to write it down. I’ll finally put pen to paper (or rather fingers to keys) and write about losing my dad.  Every December I vow to record it.  And every year it doesn’t happen. But it sneaks up on me.  Not the day.  I know it is coming.  It’s everything else that goes with it.

Dad died 12 days before Christmas.  There isn’t one thing about the season that doesn’t not make me think about what we lost.  You can’t hide or out run that day.  All through the year every siren I hear or fire truck I see makes me think, if only for a split second, of him.  Football season brings it’s own memories.  Christmas brings back the bad memories.  Christmas trees, lights, carols…it’s like every year you have these reminders of that day and the days that followed.  Even poinsettias, because some people had sent them to the funeral home.

I don’t write this for you to be sad.  I’m not sad.  I may be crying right now, but I wouldn’t say I’m sad. I’m far enough on this grief journey that I usually only cry a few times a year.  Sometimes on Ohio State-Michigan game day.  But usually not until 15 days before Christmas.  I’ll remember the last time I talked to my dad on that night and that will start it. I can still see him standing there in my doorway, silhouetted by the hall light.  Our last words were not goodbye.  By the time my sister and I got to the hospital he had already been gone for probably an hour or more.  Our last words came two nights before that. He stopped at my room before going to bed.  “Good night”, that was the last thing he said to me and the last thing I ever said to him. It’d be the last time we’d see each other.  It was a Saturday night.

“Say goodnight, not goodbye, you will never leave my heart behind.” When I heard this song on the Dawson’s Creek finale years later, I was so glad that our last words had been goodnight.  Not goodbye – that is so final, forever.  My dad had given us the greatest gift that anyone could give their loved ones – the hope of seeing each other again.  To be absent from the body is to be present with Christ (2 Cor 5:8).  Two years before he died, my dad had gotten right with God.    I couldn’t even imagine how unbearable it would have been to go through that and not had that hope that this wasn’t going to be it.  Don’t get me wrong, burying him was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

So the point of this post is to encourage you, if you haven’t yet, to get right with God.  Don’t put it off. You never know when your number will be up.  There may not be enough time at the end.  From the NIOSH report, I think there was less than sixty seconds from the time Dad collapsed until he technically died.  I believe that there is a heaven and therefore there is a hell.  Heaven is wonderful, hell is not.  Everyone will go back to the Creator one day.  And you will either stay with him in heaven or you will spend eternity in hell.
No one can be good enough to get to heaven on their own.  Not Mother Teresa.  Not Billy Graham. Not Greg Rodgers. Not even Tim Tebow. Only by the grace from Jesus will anyone get to heaven. It is simple to get.  All you have to do is confess that you are a sinner (the Bible says that all have sinned – have you ever lied? stolen? said the Lord’s name in vain?)  and ask Jesus to come into your heart.  Then turn away from your sin and start living your life for Jesus.  It won’t always be easy, but it will be the most important thing you could ever do.

{He’s here but not here, He’s gone but not gone.}  This line from a song from Ladder 49 is awesome.  My dad is not here on earth physically, but he lives on through the people who’s lives he touched. My dad is gone from this earth, but he is not gone. The part that made him who he was lives on.  Isn’t that amazing?  It really is the best gift.

No comments:

Post a Comment