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Friday, October 1, 2010

Faith, Family & Freeburg....Reflections on Life

...An article I wrote in the Freeburg Tribune. Thought you might like.

A Trip to Dad’s House

“In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” -- John 14:2

You step out of the car and you’re hit. A flood of memories wash over you and wakes you up to the past.

It’s Father’s Day and I’m at dad’s house. I’m a kid again.

I remember this neighborhood, which seemed bigger and broader when I was a kid. There were bicycle streets that never ended and big fields that knew no bounds. They all seem small now.

I step into the tiny kitchen and shout, “Hi, Dad!” He’s in his easy chair. He’s been working in the yard and has found his rest there. I’m so glad he’s here and thank God for this home.

My dad has always been a worker. He taught his children never to sit when others are working, to always pitch in and help, even if you don’t know the people who are working. Always lend a hand. That’s my dad.

I know my dad by sweat and projects and helping. That’s just the way he is. If we had something to sell, he’d sell it. From Girl Scout Cookies to Boy Scout Candy, my dad would hawk our wares like a crafty salesman.

I’ll never forget the day I went to his retirement celebration at work. There on his desk sat one last box of my sister’s school candy, labeled with a sign, “Final Closing Sale!”

“Hi, Babe,” I hear my dad say from his chair. He can’t see me too well these days, but he can tell it’s me by my clatter and clamor in the kitchen.

He walks in, a bum knee slowing his pace. He and mom and I sit in the tiny kitchen by the coffee pot and talk. There’s nothing like family talk over coffee. It’s a sweet time.

I don’t know when was the last time my father slept a full night. When I spend the night, I hear him up and down.

At four a.m. he may be washing the dishes. At six a.m., he’s brewing coffee and singing a soft song.

“There is a shanty in old shanty town…hmmmmm” When the words fade, he hums. I could listen forever to my father’s music.

I’m thinking of my father’s music this morning as I get the word of the death of another dad. This dad was a young and vibrant, a precious man who worked with us at Kids Community Bible Study in Belleville.

I remember how he carried his toddler in his arms as he passed out juice and cookies to the children. I remember his giving spirit and kindness.

Cancer has taken him away. This is a hard one. This is a God-sized ache.

God is reminding me of a verse, however, a verse about going to Dad’s house. I cling to that verse this morning, thanking God for my dad and the other daddy who has gone home…to his Father’s house.

“In my Father’s house there are many rooms.” My prayer is that you know the Father who has prepared a place for you to come home to. I know that is where the young daddy is today, perhaps even listening to the Heavenly voice of a Father’s song.

We will miss you, my friend. Have fun at Dad’s house.

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