Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Gone Fishing (02/01/07)
TITLE: Hope on a Scooter
By terri tiffany
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Tom’s father died suddenly and so his family had to pull together a quick memorial service as his dad hadn’t wanted a traditional funeral. My husband worked with Tom and was there the day he got the call that his father was taking his last breaths. Our friend was torn whether or not he should rush to the hospital – but at the last moment – changed his mind and ended up at his father’s bed with other family members. Ed died surrounded by the people who most wanted to love him but who also found it almost impossible because of how he had loved them.
“I don’t have anything to do with my dad. He has mental health problems and he never was much of a father to me.” I remembered the words Tom used to describe his relationship with his father the first time we had dinner with him. “My wife looks out for his needs.” He shook his head with apparent disgust eager to change the subject to other matters. Tom and his father had parted ways when his mother divorced the man who had jumped from job to job and eventually from hospital to hospital.
Now I prayed as I looked over the room of people who were there to pay their last respects to a man who had lived a lost life. I listened as Tom’s sister shared first her feelings about her father and how she was haunted by his illness.
Then Jesus set the hook.
A woman stood at the podium. “Ed met me at the door of a church one day on his scooter. He became my best friend and shared Jesus to both of my wayward sons.” She cried when she expressed how much she would miss him.
Next a young businessman stood up and told how Tom’s father had come to his business on his scooter one day and asked if he could work with him. “Ed used to try to help me move furniture by carrying items on his head.” Three representatives from different churches told stories about his father’s love for the Lord and how despite his disabilities – Ed had made a difference in so many lives.
I reached for a tissue as I tried to come to terms with this person these people were praising and the man Tom had described. I noticed our good friend was struggling as well. Finally, his wife shared her memories of her father-in-law. She laughed when she relayed how Ed had ridden all over the city on his scooter searching for a traditional VW horn for her new car. With her final words, all that was left was the reeling in.
Tom struggled to stand and faced the many people who had come to share in his grief – the grief he had tried to deny.
“I want to say I’m sorry. I was given a gift today from God.” He wiped his eyes. “I loved my father and I have so many regrets. But I know now God has a plan for my life and had one for my father’s. I am so thankful for all of you.” This big bear of a man wept as he confessed a love for a father who hadn’t loved a boy the way he’d needed - but then he confessed a love for a heavenly father who he’d also kept at arm’s length as he had his earthly father.
There was still plenty of room in the boat when Tom climbed in. He even thought to bring his own pole. Tom had some fishing of his own to do – a son who regarded him the way he had regarded <i> his</i> father. But Tom was filled with hope now - the same hope the man on the scooter had been filled with. After all, Tom was in the boat with Jesus, the greatest fisher of men.
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