My Dad is Still Teaching Me

My dad has been through a lot in recent days. A year and a half ago mom died, and dad said that was the worst day of his life. He then suffered a major heart attack and had 8 stents put in. He was then hospitalized for pneumonia. Then about 6 weeks ago he suffered a stroke which left him essentially bedridden. His mind is clear but when he tries to get out of bed he starts passing out. He sleeps most of the time (probably about 20 out of 24 hours). He has gotten a little bit of his appetite back and is a little stronger but has recurring "spells" when he sits on the side of his bed. For the last 6 weeks the family has taken care of him 24/7. Such a family! What a great job they have done! Thankful for each one and their love for dad.

I don't think dad has been this happy since mom died. With all the family around showering him with love and attention he soaks it up. I don't think I have heard him complain at all. The ongoing peace he has is amazing. Thank you for your prayers - we definitely sense them day in and day out.

Dad was always sort of quiet. He was never a "talker" but when he did talk, I listened - at least as I matured. I still remember when I was a little boy in my first year of school. We didn't have kindergarten, so I started into first grade at age 6 in an old country schoolhouse. I saw no value or future in this school stuff and sat at my desk thinking that I would have to endure this for 12 years. It was like a prison sentence as I saw it. Well, consequently I didn't do my schoolwork and had to stay after school. Dad came to pick me up and had to wait out in the parking lot. When I finally was released by the authority in view (my schoolteacher) and got in the car dad said to me, "Do you think the whole world is going to wait on you?" He said it in such a way that I got the memo that it was totally inappropriate for me to make him wait on me in this manner. I don't know that it ever happened again! I learned.

When I got older (just out of high school), I bought a motorcycle chopper. My dad took a look at it and said, "You are going to kill yourself on that thing!" One day as I was flying down the highway way over the speed limit the welding gave way and the frame cracked and the motorcycle began to shake violently. The words of my dad suddenly came back to me. I ended up getting rid of it. I learned. As a young man who was now in the ministry my dad one day said to me, "You think you are right about everything." It was humbling but it was good for me. I hadn't even realized I came off that way. I learned.

Through the years in his quiet way dad has taught me a lot about life. And now as he is in hospice care he is continuing to teach me. One day I was talking to him about the challenge of being confined to a bed and he said to me, "I guess that is just the way it is for now." Dad is completely accepting of his situation. The GRACE of God is clearly on display. This last weekend I had to explain to dad that when we get into August things will have to change as some of the major players in terms of his care will have to go back to work (school teacher - college) and therefore I had checked into a care facility that would be able to meet his needs. Dad just listened quietly. When I asked him if he was good with that he said, "I guess I have to be" but he said it in an accepting manner.

This has been dad's demeanor each step of the way. He has humbled himself under the mighty hand of God and it has had a profound effect upon me. Is not this the great LESSON in life - learning to submit to God's sovereign will and way? My dad not only has taught me a lot about living but also about the dying process and handling in with grace. God has a purpose for each stage of our journey. And he uses us to teach those who follow behind. Dad is still teaching me. I am so thankful for God who is our Great Shepherd Who leads us all along the way in our trek to GLORY!

1 Peter 5:5–7 (NKJV)
5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.