Psalms 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”
Today, we will commit to the ground what remains of my father on this earth.
We will gather with friends and family to remember his life and his legacy.
Tears will flow.
Laughter will ring out.
Many pictures shared will bring back a story, a touch, a fondness of the life of my Dad that touched so many.
I wish that growing up, I had the wisdom afforded me now. I would not have been such a rebel. I would have listened more. I would have been more thankful, compassionate, and helpful. Chores would have turned into labors of love to thank my parents for the sacrifices they made for us.
You see, today, I will look upon the faces of many whose life my father touched. Whether it was a kind word, a lending of a hand to move, to taxi, to share a meal or just to take a walk; in some small way, he meant something to you.
Oh, he would say it was nothing. But, to you, it may have meant everything. He was there for each of us kids when we asked for help. In these past weeks as Dad’s health declined, we sat together and were able to verbally express what it was we will miss about Dad.
I had called my brother who lives in New York one day while riding to visit Dad. He shared just how much he will miss the political discussions they shared. They agreed about much and had the same views. They loved to talk of how they would change America if the right people were in charge.
But it hit me as my brother was sharing his heart… We are the Dad now.
In Dad moving his residence to Heaven, the mantle is passed to him and I to take up and be the dad to our families. Oh, we had been in that position for some time, but it gained such clarity when we realized that Dad was no longer a phone call away.
I can’t call him when life seems overwhelming and his calming voice and sage wisdom would be just the thing I’d need. He was there with a helping hand to take down trees, remodel a room or just to take a stroll around the grounds.
Today that mantle gets passed to us.
Music is and has been such an important part of our family. We sang on trips, around the campfire, and over the phone. He wanted to start a special program at Shorehaven (the nursing home where he resided) where they would sing songs to calm your soul before most would retire for the night. He called it “Even Song”. Most were old hyms and gospel favorites, but also songs that lifted your heart.
He wanted our quartet, the Faithmen, to come and sing for the folks. I will never forget that night. We sang many songs and the people welcomed us warmly. During one song, Dad came to where we were and at the end asked one man to sing. He was a friend that Dad had made there and wanted him to share a song he loved to sing.
As that man closed his eyes and began to sing, you could hear and sense his love for his country and tears began to flow. Dad knew the man’s heart. He had taken time to get to know him; his loves, his life and found a beauty in him that he felt needed to be shared with those in his community.
My Dad always saw the good in others. He was passionate in his love for life, for his wife, for his kids and for his God.
He will be sorely missed down here.
But… as the verse states – “Precious in the sight of the Lord…”. The moment his soul left this world, he was ushered into the presence of God. That moment for us was sad. But, for God, He says it is precious to Him.
I find it easier to let go knowing that in letting go, it becomes precious to my God.
But that is not all.
When my time comes for me to leave this world, I too, will be ushered into the presence of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His will be the first I want to see! He is the One who made it all possible!
But after that, there are so many I will want to see again.
Dad will be one of the first.
To walk up to him that day and know that there truly is a “Hello after Goodbye”
This song epitomizes the feeling – Enjoy!