Sunday, December 23, 2007

The time between

So long as my memory lasts, I'll likely never forget the week linking the third Sunday in Advent with the fourth Sunday 2007.

While waiting for the arrival of the child of hope, my father died.

At mid-week we gathered with a crowd of friends, relatives and associates to begin the memorial and healing process. Dad's wake or "visitation" on Wednesday was not only memorable, but remarkable. Church folks, relatives, long-time business associates, people from all walks of life dropped by to express their love and sympathy. The rich, the poor, the educated, the uneducated, the young, the old--all came to pay their respects.

They lifted us.

Two guests stand out from that evening.

Julio worked with my dad as the maintenance supervisor for one of their retail centers, as well as other properties. He and my dad became close friends. Julio loved dad and dad returned the sentiment. I expect that Julio visited my father 75 times over the past three months. He was a special friend and a valued partner to my dad. Of course, Julio was among the first to arrive Wednesday evening.

Tatum is a little girl from my parents' church. Still in elementary school, she and my dad shared a very special friendship. Not long ago, Tatum went through a major health crisis of her own that included a liver transplant. She loved my dad and he loved her. She came with her parents. She couldn't stop the tears. The bond between this old man and this sweet little girl was beyond amazing. Love is something, isn't it?

On Thursday, we laid my father's worn out body to rest, as he went on to a world we can only imagine at this point.

The crowd returned.

The love flowed.

The ministers were amazing.

John Siburt is a young, brilliant, genuine, loving pastor. The church is so fortunate to have him as their leader. His message was finely crafted and full of the kind of heart my dad always appreciated. My dear friend, Edd Eason spoke and did his typical touching, healing work. To me, Edd is like the brother I never had. Dan Stevens provided the music and, as always, his voice was inspirational.

Friday was quiet and lonely. But, good.

Saturday, while trying to wrap up preparations for our family Christmas, Brenda and I were involved in an automobile accident.

As we drove down LBJ Freeway, a car sped out of nowhere at a high speed and hit our car lightly before crashing into a retaining wall, spinning out of control back into the traffic, hitting another driver before coming to a violent stop on the other side of the highway.

Unnerving to say the least.

The driver of the runaway car was seriously injured, but the rest of us miraculously escaped harm. Cars can be repaired. I pray the other driver can be as well.

None of us have guarantees, do we?

So, during this particular "in between time" waiting for The Arrival, we are very aware that we are fragile, limited, vulnerable. Life is largely out of our control.

It is clear that we need each other.

It is certain that we wait together for a very good reason.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? But, we wait gladly.

Merry Christmas.



Donna said...

I am glad you were all okay...and that you have such special friends to help celebrate the life of your Dad.

Merry Christmas.

Lynn Leaming said...

Praising God for His mercy and protecting you and Brenda from any serious injury in that wreck. You are so right when you say we have no guarantees. Life definitely can change in the twinkle of an eye. Steve and I continue to lift you and your family up in prayer and our best wishes for a wonderful Christmas celebration.

kristy said...

Not only do we wait together, but we impact each other as we wait. As your Dad impacted so many lives in such a positive way, and as you have impacted my family's life as well, may we all remember we have the same ability to touch those around us.
God bless!!