Sunday, November 14, 2010

Words Better Left Said

I've been thinking lately how prone we are to forget the impact different people have on our lives. Those who've known us all of our lives like our parents and siblings. Those we've met during our growing up years and those we've met in our adult lives. No matter how long we've known these special people, they influenced us in one way or another. On the other side, we've made an impact on others whether we knew it or not. For good or for bad, people remember us by our words, our actions and our character. I believe there are no coincidences in the people we meet along the way. I believe God always has a purpose in every meeting, every relationship and every life. The Lord has been showing me how thankful I should be for the many people that I've met over the years. He's also been showing me how important it is to be a faithful wife, a faithful mother, a faithful daughter, a faithful sister and a faithful friend. I will fail and let others down, but God is good and can restore the times when I've failed.

There is someone in my life that has made a tremendous impact on me and on so many people. Sometimes, I don't think he realizes how many lives he's touched. I'm hoping this week that he begins to realize just how special he is to so many. God knew him before the creation of the world and created him for a special purpose. There were many circumstances in his life that were less than desirable. At 15, his parents were divorced and he did not feel that he had his father's approval. He didn't always have the best relationship with his mother either. This continued for decades, even after he was married and had adult children. In spite of his early experiences, he was a fantastic student, singer, and dancer and was voted president of his high school class. His humor was a gift to everyone around him. He was a hard worker and loved to talk to people. He knew no strangers.

One day, he was visiting his mother in the hospital. I forget the reason she was there, but a pretty young lady who was training to be a nurse walked into the room and I think he was twitter pated. They dated for a little while and when they were both 20 years old, they married. Children came a few years later and he loved them. He did not do everything perfectly, but he trained them the best way he knew how.

There were tough times ahead though. Some time later, he was out of work. He wanted to work at a job where he could be a positive influence and the current job he had was not where he wanted to be. He took other jobs and worked for a while and then, for one reason or another, he was either let go or he decided to look for something else that wouldn't force him away from his family so much. There were many years of financial struggles, but he was very good at stretching a dollar, paying for things with cash and conserving the resources he had. Of course, it meant that the house would not be a show place, the kids would wear hand me downs and the family would not go on many big vacations. His wife began to work sometime later to help make ends meet. Together, they made many sacrifices for their children and for others. Even through the hard times, he kept his sense of humor and was also drawing closer to the Lord, discipling his children and always pointing them back to the Savior. Yes, there were some struggles. His wife and children did not always appreciate him during those times, even resenting the way things were, but through it all, they loved him very much and so many others loved being near him. I used to wonder if there was an imaginary magnet attached to him, because people could not help but to be drawn to him.
Tonight, this person who I thank God for everyday, this person who I love deeply is in a hospital bed after suffering from a stroke. This wonderful man is my Dad. He was never rich. He was not a man of great position or fame, but he has faithfully been a loving husband and father, a devoted friend and a child of God. He has made mistakes and yet has lived honorably. He pointed me and my siblings to the Lord Jesus Christ, praying for us, explaining the Bible and taking us to church. He has loved and cared for my Mom for nearly fifty one years. He instilled in us a love for God, for our country, for music and yes, even “The Andy Griffith Show”. He reached out to help others and made friends everywhere he went and continues to make friends even at the hospital. Life hasn't always been easy for him, but he has persevered.

God has impressed it on my heart to write another letter to my Dad. I wrote a letter to him last year for Father's Day here, but I still feel that there is more that needs to be said. One of the greatest tragedies is words left unsaid, so I am writing to him again.


Dear Dad,

Just like George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life", I think you may have forgotten just how very special you are to all of us. If you had not been here on this Earth, there would have been a great hole, a missing piece to this life. Mom would have never had the opportunity to know such a loving and kind man. Of course, Kevin, Kris and I wouldn’t be here. All of your precious grandchildren wouldn’t be here. And all the scores of others whose lives you've touched would not have known you. Dad, I know we've had our disagreements and even a short, but painful period of time where we did not speak. I didn't always appreciate what you did for me when I was under your roof. Those are things I've wanted to erase, but God used all of it to strengthen us and to bring us closer. And, Dad, I want you to know that I hold no bitterness against you. I have forgiven you for your mistakes and I ask for your forgiveness where I've been wrong.

Sometimes, I wish I could go back to being a little girl. Do you remember the times you would sit with me when I was sick? Holding my hand and praying for me? I even saw tears in your eyes at times because you did not want me to suffer. Do you remember the tea parties I had with Jesus and how I invited you to join us? How about the time we made that terrible coffee cake together? You ate it anyway. I have so many wonderful memories from childhood and continuing through today. So much laughter, many tears, yes, more than a few heated words, but always love. Thank you, Daddy for loving me. Thank you, for loving all of us. We only pray that we can return that love to you.

So, Dad, never ever think that you have been a failure. As Clarence said to George, “A man is no failure if he has friends.” You are loved by so many and better yet, you are loved by the greatest Friend of all, the Creator of the Universe who very lovingly placed you in this life for His glory and so that we would be blessed. Thank you for everything, Dad. We love you.