Remembering Dad

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Today marks 8 years since I’ve lost my dad. One of those days that I can still vividly remember.

My daughter Becca and I were shopping at Target for some last minute items needed to celebrate my son, Thomas’ 17th birthday. My phone rang, it was my uncle, Bill. I answered the phone in a fun and teasing way by asking if everyone was enjoying themselves.

My mom, dad, her siblings, and in-laws were having their annual time together at a lake in Minnesota. They were all best friends, always laughing, playing and enjoying conversation with each other.

The answer on the other end of the phone…”Laura, I have never wanted to make this phone call. My joking became somber as I asked what? What was going on? “It’s your dad. He is gone.”

I was confused, asking questions about what he meant. Where is my dad? The response… “he is down by the lake, the paramedics are working on him, but he is gone.” I responded, “So you mean there’s still a chance he will be ok?” The response back was, “No, Laura, he is gone.” “He isn’t breathing, there is no pulse. He is gone.”

I continued walking through the aisles of Target, trying to find a way out with people staring at me as I was yelling on the phone. Becca walking beside me wondering what in the world was going on, becoming panicked herself as she only heard the conversation from one end of the phone.

The beautiful sibling reunion was marred by a simple bee sting on dad’s toe. And this random act is the thing that killed my Dad. A farmer, who was never allergic to any sting before, randomly died of anaphylactic shock.

My sister, Sara, wrote about the randomness of that day, and I want to share with you the thoughts she wrote about “random” when it comes to God and the life of intention we are all called to live.

Random.

The whispers went through our small town of devastated people. The quiet hush of, “Did you hear? It *was* the bee sting. It’s just so random.”

But what I’ve learned is that random doesn’t exist in the vocabulary of God. Because once I stopped replaying the randomness of that day in my mind, and the fog of stunned grief began to lift, I realized random was only our description of his death.

Intention described his life.

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. {Mt 24:36}

Dad‘s death was never random to God. He saw the day Dad was born and the day he would die. And the same is true for you and me. What we have in between is the opportunity to fulfill the wants of God as He lays out opportunities in front of us.

Opportunities that require intention.

That nudge in our spirit. That whisper in our ear. The urge to make a phone call or ask to visit. The passing thought of prayer or the ache that resides deep within for what we know we should do but haven’t.

They can be whispers and they can be sirens… but they are there. The opportunities. To be kind. To smile instead of ignoring, to acknowledge instead of dismissing. To let someone pass ahead instead of hurrying on your way, to speak the words that come into your heart instead of holding them in for your own security. Because the truth is if you come in contact with someone you either leave them feeling better about themselves or worse, but you never leave them unaffected.

It was the simple things for Dad. The {I LOVE YOU} that flowed freely from his tongue and was felt deeply in his heart. The smile and joke to the cashier, the visit to the elderly neighbor, the voiced pride in his grandchildren and the hug to the widow alone in her pew on Sunday.

These are the small things every day that make us who we are supposed to be. How we are supposed to represent the One who wants us to spread His message of love in those days between our birth and death.

All of it matters. None of it is random. We aren’t supposed to have an urging in our spirit and say, “I’ll get to that tomorrow. I’ll visit them tomorrow. I’ll bless them next time.” No. We’re supposed to wake up today and say YES.

Yes to the attitude we must clothe ourselves in before our feet hit the floor. Yes to the kindness and the welcoming smile. Yes to graciousness and gratitude in our words and actions. Yes to the prompting in our spirits to be the essence of Him to every. single. person. we encounter.

Because while we look for reasons in what feels random, and great purpose in our lives through grand deeds and gestures, what we are missing is the day-to-day opportunities He sets out for us.

The truth is that if you are still breathing, He still has plans for you. And one of those small moments you see when you are living intentionally may just be the moment He needed you most.

Live it for Him.”

Thank you, Sara, for reminding us that with grief comes a gratitude for what God has blessed us with. In my case, it was blessing me with a great dad with moments and teachings that I will always cherish. I was his Jo babe. I was his sidekick. He was my everything! Love you dad.

Save a dance for me. 🙂

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2 Comments Add yours

    1. gitznjo says:

      Thank you, @Juicy’sjourneythroughcancer! God belss.

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