"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Free at Last!

Well, dear friends, my Dad is finally at peace and has gone to be with his God. It's 2am on Saturday morning here in Atlanta and he passed away around midnight at the hospice. They called our family to come in, so we drove over to say 'goodbye for now, but we'll see you soon" and I'm now back at home.

Dad had a peaceful, easy transition....the kind we all hope for. He had been back in a coma for a couple days, gently asleep, and the nurse who was with him told us that he just simply took one more breath and slipped quietly into death where God was waiting for Him with arms open wide with Love.

As soon as I can find the picture I want, I'll be posting it with this article so all can see the man who (for better or worse) made me the man I am.

I thank you all for your continued prayers, thoughts and support for my family in the coming days. It will probably be a few days before I can get my creative juices flowing, but I will definitely be back soon and will be making up for lost time.

Be God's!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Waiting is Hell

I sit here each night in the hospice and watch my father breath. In, out, in, out, in, out. I watch as his feet react to some reflex deep in his subconscious being and twitch a couple of times. I watch as he on occasion will open his eyes and focus on me if I am in his line of vision. Since he is unable to move his head or body, his eyes will cut back and forth until he locates something to fixate upon. I watch, as sometimes he will move his mouth as if he wanted to tell me one more thing.

Is this the same man, my father, who taught me to ride a bicycle in the front yard? The same man who brought my first go-cart home and allowed me to totally ruin the grass in our back yard? The man whose strong arms would pick me up and toss me into the pool or the ocean? The man whose arms now are wasting away and cannot move unless someone moves them for him?

Is it the man laying in that bed the one who taught me as a child to always give a tithe back to God? The father who always waited on my brother, sister and me after Bible Study class by a wooden table outside the Sanctuary so we could sit together because that is what families did in church. This is my father who tried his best to teach me the virtues of freshly polished shoes, but I still haven’t quite caught on to that concept. The father who for many years worked six days a week to provide for our family, so that we could have food on our table, shoes on our feet and would make sure we always had all we needed…and then some. This is the father who believed in taking family vacations as long as any of us kids would go. The last vacation I had a chance to take with him and my mom was just a couple years ago and I find myself yearning for just one more trip that will now never happen.

My dad and I butted heads on more than a few occasions, but I never doubted his love for me and those occasions seem rather unimportant now. He loved my mother with a love that only God can give. He loved and supported my brother, sister and his grandchildren. And, oh my gosh, how he loved his church! From the time I was a small boy until only five weeks ago, he was constantly at his church cutting grass, changing light bulbs, fixing anything that needed to be fixed. He wanted his house of worship to be beautiful for the God he served.

Now, we all wait. The nutrition and hydration tubes are out and we sit and reflect and laugh and cry (well, I am still working on that last one). The healthcare workers at the hospice are truly God’s angels here on earth in the love and care they show not only my dad, but also my mother. They are dedicated to making sure my dad’s final days here on earth are peaceful, calm and comfortable. We have been told that most people in dad’s condition may last three or four weeks, and we are ending week two. So, without some miraculous intervention, my dad will be with His Father God in a very short time. My family and I are sad and will grieve, but I know that someday we’ll be together again. But, for now, we sit and wait and pray for an easy transition.

My mother’s verse of strength that she has shared with us over the past month is found in Nahum 1:7. “The Lord is good, a stronghold during the difficult times. He knows those who take refuge in Him.” I’m trying. I’m really trying to find that refuge and stay there.

My family and I appreciate your prayers and thoughts for my Dad. God’s Will is taking place and He alone is giving us the ‘peace that passes all understanding”. I know that the person lying in front of me is only the personification of my father. My dad is alive in my heart and in everything I do and say. And, as for me, I’m heading out tomorrow to buy some shoe polish.

And for today my friends, with tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.