Sunday, June 16, 2013

Only Hallmark is happy about holidays

I was having a discussion today with someone who said only Hallmark is happy about holidays.  They're probably right. 

Although God blessed me with a wonderful step-father who gladly took on the responsibility of two children, there's always a bond (good or bad) with your father.

It's hard to believe he died 6 years ago.  It's harder to believe he encompassed so much of my young life and so many hours of therapy in early adulthood.

He was the best guy.  So funny.  So likable.  The best friend anyone could ever ask for.  And if you ask my cousins - hands down the best uncle on the planet.

He just probably didn't need to be a father.  He loved the good times, but he couldn't tolerate the rest.  He didn't want to be a parent.  He didn't want to be unconditionally committed to anyone and whether you're 8 or 80 - you know that.

The last time I saw him was when I was in college visiting at Christmas. He never looked up from the table.  I hadn't seen him in 2 years.  He asked me how school was in Tennessee.  I went to school in Kentucky.  And when I left I said goodbye and he never answered.

I don't blame him.  I just don't think he was capable of genuine relationships and he proved that from his death bed.  I can't imagine knowing I was dying of cancer and having an extended period to say good bye and not taking it.  How do you not at least call your child at the end?

I can't answer that.

But God gave me a sweet gift.  My dad held on to life at the end and no matter what anyone said, he wouldn't let himself go on.  Finally they called me at work and asked me to tell him he could die.  That it was time. 

And because it was the right thing to do - I did.  I told him I forgave him and I loved him.  And then he died.  I like to think that interaction covered time and space and said more than any conversation could.

At this stage in my life, I can only thank him.  When someone described God to me at a very early age as a Father who loved unconditionally - I was all in.  And I've been all in ever since.  I'm thankful that he made me a better person because I never want anyone in my life to think they aren't loved and that I wouldn't fight for friendship and relationships.  He made me want to love with reckless abandon even if it's meant getting hurt sometimes.  And it has.

With or without meaning to, he made me better.  And for that - I'm thankful.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Be thou near to me

It’s both my spiritual theme and the biggest fear I have that when arriving in Heaven God will say, “You made that really hard for both of us.”  And He’ll be right.
He invites me to trust Him while I lose sleep worrying if everything will be alright. 

He promises me security within the confines of His perfect presence while I kick and scream that no one cares.

He ensures the promise of Heaven when Earth is overwhelming even as I place all of my hope in the temporal.
I'm making it hard - on both of us.
I’m learning to stop overcomplicating what is not my concern.  I’m discovering great peace in letting God mind my own business.  And I’m finding joy in learning to trust.

Although I love complicated prayers with big words that explain to God what I can’t articulate, I also love the simplistic, heartfelt cry of a soul that just wants to know Him.  A heart that wants nothing more than holy, reverent friendship with the divine creator who calls me his own. 
So I pray the prayers I love still and I seek guidance from the God who ever invites me to follow Him with whatever is on my heart at the moment. 

But, more frequently these days, I find myself closing my eyes and praying one prayer more than others – not just for me but for the ones I love.  A prayer that I am confident God gladly answers every single time I call.

“Be thou near to me.”