I am sitting in one of those Airbnb rentals in Pflugerville, Texas. It’s my son’s wedding week and we needed a place big enough to house family members. The back lawn needs mowing but there’s still enough view to get the creative juices flowing, three days before the big event. (I am working ahead since there’s no way I’ll be able to get a blog out on wedding day.)
Kyle will have no grandparents at the wedding. My husband Jeff’s mom and dad are gone. Jeff’s father died from Alzheimer’s Disease. His mother—cancer.
My mother passed away in 1994 at the age of 63 from a massive heart attack and my dad, two months before I was born at age 39. I hope I take after my grandmother and grandfather who left their earthly tents at age 97 and 93, respectively.
I can’t help but wonder what my dad would think of Kyle if he could attend the wedding. Kyle probably inherited my father’s coarse, wavy hair, as well as his intelligence. Dad was a physician with a Northwestern Medical School degree. Kyle never made a B until his senior year of high school and graduated with a Computer Engineering degree from Texas A & M. I’m an indication that these kinds of smarts skip a generation!
As a child, Kyle always knew how to make me laugh, and it’s my understanding that my father also had a sense of humor. I found some of the old cards that he gave my mother, and they were always funny. Kyle loves sports, as did my dad, but my father was into less mainstream sports like polo, skeet shooting and water skiing.
What if my dad had lived? I think he would really like both his grandsons and be proud of Kyle at his wedding.
Have you ever played the “what if” game? Maybe you had a parent that died as well and they missed some milestones in your life. How do you feel about that?
This kind of reality can bring us down. We can be mad about their death or forlorn. Maybe they didn’t take care of themselves the way they should have. Perhaps something went undiagnosed. Did someone else contribute to their shortened life?
The turning point in my own life was when I forgave my father for dying.
I had to realize there was some buried resentment toward my dad for leaving me on this earth to fend for myself most of my childhood. Dr. Burkhardt used to do research on hyperbaric chambers for the military, and acted as a guinea pig. A friend of his told me, “I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what damaged his heart.” What if he hadn’t allowed himself to be used in this way?
Forgiving my father for dying was freeing and I have come to the point where I’ve accepted his death as a part of God’s plan. If he hadn’t died, I might not have pursued God the way I did. I wouldn’t have the testimony I have now, one I share with many people in hopes of seeing them accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and have a more fulfilling life. I also want them to know God as Father. There’s no better dad, one who will never leave us or forsake us. One who knows the number of hairs on our heads. One who cares about our lives—our successes and our heartbreaks.
Who do you need to forgive—for dying? Ask God if you’ve held any kind of resentment in your heart, then give it over to Him. It will be freeing.
Categories: Devotion of the Week