I’m tired. I’m guessing you know that, but I’m really not sure. Can you see me now, hear me? Do you know the things I’m talking to God about? In the last 6 days, I have thought more about what heaven is like than I did in all the 18,000 days prior to now combined.
You’ve moved to a new place, and I’m not sure what it looks like. I have no pictures to help me visualize it, so basically I’m making it all up. It’s got a beach, mountains, fields of wildflowers, valleys with streams and wildlife, far east countryside, and even a middle of the ocean with no land in sight – and you can constantly move back and forth, and experience all the different kinds of land and sea scapes that brought you joy, and that you loved to just watch and feel and smell. Is that even remotely what it’s like? I doubt it, because according to Corinthians Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him. I’m so happy to know without a shadow of a doubt that you’re in heaven, but it makes me sad not to be able to picture you somewhere.
Now that you’re in heaven, assuming you see me, do you see me only as I am today or do you now have greater knowledge about all the things I said and did that little girls hide from their Daddies? Because YIKES if it’s the latter. I guess none of it would surprise you or change anything, but still – a girl should get to keep some secrets! Perhaps the thing I am the most thankful for right now is how many times you said to me “I am proud of you, Beth.” Sometimes you asked me to stop what I was doing and really listen to you say it, because you wanted me to hear it and absorb it. And I realized this week that I do really know it, and what a fantastic gift that is. As you would say, I know that I know that I know you’re proud of me – and that’s because you were a great Dad and you purposefully said it and made me pay attention. (I’m really hoping you didn’t say it so many times because you already knew about all the YIKES stuff and figured I might need extra convincing at some point.)
I love that you kept this little piece of scrap paper for probably 40 years. I wish I knew or remembered the story of that day.
Why did you die in the year of freedom? What’s the lesson for me there? I haven’t figured it out yet. I just don’t know now why my word for the year is freedom. Is Romans 8 a part of it? I have to think more on this.
Message received, loud and clear, that this timing is by design. On purpose. God’s plan. How I live and behave and speak in these days is critical, showing others the way to grieve and to live. I’m doing my best. There has been some mild cursing.
Sending us a police officer named Paul, who has parents named Paul and Linda, was the absolute best reassurance that God is with us, went before us, and we shouldn’t be discouraged.
The day after you went to heaven, I ate the can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup you always kept in the pantry for when anyone was feeling under-the-weather. You were so wrong to try to pass that mess off as some sort of Biblical cure because some Army guy from 1958 told you it was called Jewish Penicillin. It was salty, awful, zero stars and do not recommend.
The song for this week was Van Halen’s Jump. I know you scowled every time I restarted it – but you have to admit that my awesome air drums were the perfect way to get my brain to shift from overwhelmed to focused, and to keep me from crying at stoplights. Rock and roll is not all sex and drugs and evil. I am right about Van Halen being talented, and since you’re not here to argue with me, I win.
I spent time at Stumpy Lake this week thinking how you’d love all the sights and sounds out there, and looking for my eagle. I was frustrated not to see her. But then I realized she’s somewhere up there in the sky, even though I can’t see her. Just like Jesus. Just like you.
While I was there yesterday, I Facetimed a friend and I was shocked to see myself for the first time. To find that the person staring back at me looked the same. The world feels so different, so I assumed I would look different.
The world is full of pressure right now, from all sides. But I very clearly remember your instruction for when this happens:
* Do not stop.
* Keep pushing back and keep going.
* An enemy knows when he’s losing. He will throw all he has at you in his last ditch effort, just before he surrenders.
I was worried about Audrey’s dental work this week, because you weren’t here to pray. But Joy convinced me that your years of prayers for all of us keep working. I had no idea! Why didn’t we talk about this while you were here?
I know it hasn’t looked like it at all moments, but I am OK. We talked about this time on numerous occasions and I am so thankful that you very intentionally spoke to me about it. I don’t always feel it, but I believe I am equipped because you said it. At the same time, I feel a little like I did when I realized that What to Expect When You’re Expecting in no way prepares you for having an actual baby.
Miss and love you, Beth
PS: It looks like Jimmy Carter is headed your way soon. You should maybe not tell him what you thought of his job performance and just focus on his post-Presidency work.
One thought on “Dear Dad”
Beth – your prose brings me to tears. I love you for your raw openness and perspective of life and death. May our Lord lift you up in His loving arms to cradle you through this difficult time.
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