May 22, 2008

Father’s Day Came

Ever since I was 10 years old I have loved Father’s Day.

My daddy died when I was two and when I was almost 10 I got a new dad when my mom remarried. I called him “Royce” at first, but it slowly morphed into “Dad”. Father’s Day no longer meant longingly watching other kids doing nice things for their “pop”.

When I got married a few days before “Father’s Day” it was my dad who was standing beside me as my best man. As I got older Father’s Day always meant a long call to dad who was always waiting near the phone.

Of course “Father’s Day” became infinitely more treasured when I became one myself. To hear the words “Papa” on the lips of my little blondie was one of life’s sweetest thrills. Her first cards to me were masterpieces meant for parental art museums.

So it may come as surprise that this Father’s Day will be met with sorrow mingled with smiles. You see, Father’s Day Came on May 13 this year. It was the day God came to get my Father. After I had sat prayerfully at his side for a couple of days and nights, the damage from an aneurysm of the aorta, finished his physical life. It was Father’s Day to step over, to go home, to transition into his Father’s presence.

We think of death as some dark thief strangling the air out of us as we fight to keep breathing. In some ways that’s true of death. But death is also a joyful messenger, announcing that our appointment with our King has come and the feast prepared in our honor is about to begin. Death is our day…our glorious day…our day to slip away from the chains of our physical existence and be free to be the immortal, perfected self we were created to be.

So this Father’s Day, I will thank my God, that my Father’s Day has finally, although much to soon to my liking, come!

May 12, 2008

ICU, Do You?

Dad is fighting for his life…and if he lives he may lose his leg and his other foot. I sit here fighting sleep, exhaustion, and confusion.

ICU is not for the faint of heart. I have often visited but I have never spent the night sleeplessly listening for every chirp of the machines that monitor my father’s battle.

Often I arise from my seat to pray, touch a shoulder, call a nurse, or simply shake off weariness.

30 hours ago Dad had a aneurysm of the aorta and almost died. Two major surgeries later, he is hanging on. Plague keeps breaking loose and blocking veins. Any errant piece could lodge in the wrong place and take him home to Jesus.

Me…I spent a mostly sleepless night Saturday as I waited to hear results of the surgery, then I preached two Mother’s day services and dedicated 9 babies. As I gave the altar call at 12:22pm I raced to LAX to catch my 1:30pm departing plane. Amazingly I made it.

After an evening with family here at St. Joseph’s hospital in Tacoma, WA., everyone went home and I started my long watch through the night.

So here I sit…calling out to you Lord. It just hit me…ICU…Intensive Care Unit but it can also mean…ICU…I SEE YOU. Lord, I believe you do…it feels lonely but I believe your eyes upon me…Your loving gaze is upon me…I am the apple of your eye…your thoughts are toward…I am engraved on your palm…my hairs are being counted hourly…you know my thoughts…you know when I stand up and when I sit down and when I nod off.

Lord you are my hope, my strength, my God…even when I am simply clinging to you in weary prayers of wordless ramblings…you know my heart and you embrace me. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, mount up on wings like eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint…So shall it be.

ICU too, Lord!