Wednesday, September 12, 2007

True Story

This isn't an entry for this week's contest, but it's a true story of my own life I'd like to share for this theme. I hope you'll indulge me and I hope it will encourage you to share your stories, too.

My dad, an engineer, had been an alcoholic from about the time I turned 8 or 10 years old. Until that time, we’d had a glorious, memorable time together, fishing, swimming, gardening, playing football in our back yard. Even chores with Pop were fun because he enjoyed life so much.

But then the stress of caring for three rambunctious kids hit, and the alcohol took over. Our lives became roller-coasters and as I got older, I got angrier. Until I was an adult, I couldn’t separate the sin from the sinner – the disease of alcoholism from my father, the man. We shared lots of anger and words of disgust and condemnation flung far and wide caused such harm to both of us.

The older I got, the more I understood, the more I empathized. And when I finally found the Lord, the forgiveness began.

At that point, my family still didn’t want to know the Lord – they didn’t want to hear about Him and what He’d done for me, or for them. My very presence stirred up anger and resentment, so I lived my life apart from my family for many years.

I don’t remember what happened, but eventually, we all began to miss each other and began communicating again. My dad got reacquainted with my children, and our relationship grew so sweet once again.

Then he was diagnosed with cancer. We thought for awhile that he’d beat it, but it returned with a vengeance.

Those last six months of his life were precious. We read the Bible together – for the first time in my life and we discussed it at length. We discussed his past and my future. We shared words of love and forgiveness and both of our salvation stories.

His final weeks, we read Revelation, and discussed at length the new Heaven and Earth. In Chapter 21, detailed descriptions are given, and I’m always amazed at the beauty described there. I can visualize the colors, the light, the beauty.

Christmas Eve that year, we set up the hospital bed for my dad and spent Christmas day hovered around him. I had to go home the next day to handle some business matters, but was summoned back on the 27th. All day, we stayed with him, but he just slept peacefully. His bedroom was small, so the family mostly gathered in his small living room or outside.

Late evening, things got really still, and I suddenly felt something “turn off.” I didn’t know what – to this day I still don’t know – but I got up and went to check on Pop. As I entered the room and took his hand, he took his last breath and died.

Just before his funeral, the pastor asked if he had any special verses we’d like him to read. I mentioned that Pop really liked Revelation 21. As the pastor was giving the service, he brought up this chapter. He said that most people think of the beauty of the jewels, and can imagine the colors described, but my dad, being the engineer, probably saw a different beauty in those words. He said my dad probably saw the measurements given, and being the engineer that he was, he was able to picture the new Heaven and Earth – it became REAL to him because he could “see” the dimensions.

I realized the pastor was right. My dad and I saw the beauty of the new Heaven and Earth, but in an entirely different way.

That precious time I’d spent with my dad those last few weeks continue to give me comfort because I know without a doubt he’s with Jesus now.

Thanks for letting me share!

1 comment:

Jess said...

What a beautiful story, Tracy. Thanks for sharing it.