Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: JOIE DE VIVRE (delight in being alive) (08/18/16)
TITLE: Douleur Dans La Mort ( Pain In Death ).
By Daniel Rae
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His calling was certainly no surprise; he called me everyday.
I was with customers and quickly cut him off: "Dad I'm totally busy. I'll call you back." "OK Dan" he said. "But make sure you call. I've got some news for you." There was no urgency in his voice. Just a seemingly benign request.
I said goodbye, promising to get right back to him. As I re-addressed the customers across my desk, an intense foreboding overwhelmed me. I excused myself and went to an office across the showroom. I dialled my dad and reiterated I was busy, but needed him to assure me of one thing: "Dad, tell me no one is dead or dying." His response swelled the glands in my throat and brought a tightness to my chest. "I've got a tumour in my esophagus."
Seven words changed my life forever.
There was a prolonged silence and eventually I was aware of the fact that both of us were crying. My dad wasn't crying for himself; no way. He was crying because he knew how devastating this news was to me. I gathered my composure and told him I'd call him back. I have no idea what happened with the customers in my office. I went straight home, stuffed a bag, and grabbed a ferry to the mainland.
For the 2 hour journey, my prayers were resolute. I was going to arrive and embody confidence: "We've got this dad!" I played it over and over in my head. "Let's just get to the bottom of it and get it handled!"
I was strong and optimistic as I approached my parents house. But when I finally pulled up outside I started to second guess myself. What if my impromptu visit was indicative of how dire this circumstance was? It had been 2 months since I'd seen him. How different might he look? What if he needed a few days with mom, just to grasp this accosting development?
I decided to call him from my car. We small-talked for a moment till I asked: "So have you been having any visitors dad?" "Well we certainly haven't turned anyone away" he said, cheeky as ever.
"Well I'm right outside."
I watched as the balcony door opened and he stepped outside holding the phone. "Well get over here ya drip" he said, referring to a nick name he'd hung on me as a kid. Before I could get to the front door, he swung it open and grabbed me, bear-hug style. I'd always been awed by his physical strength, but the weakness in his grasp caused me to draw him closer, while my tears fell as harmlessly as possible, onto the back of his shirt.
John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible, yet it carries a powerful punch. "Jesus Wept" epitomizes the reality of who Jesus was. He was as much man as He was God. And he reacted to his dear friends mourning, by joining them in their sadness. The sting of death pierced Him differently than it pierced Mary and Martha, as they grieved the loss of Lazarus. But even knowing that He was about to raise Lazarus up, didn't prevent Him from crying. He wasn't crying for the loss of Lazarus; He was crying with 2 sisters that He loved, sharing their sorrow.
I'm reminded of how much I love Him, whenever I reflect on that simple verse.
I lost my dad 55 days later, all of which were spent in the hospital. Those precious days were an immeasurable gift from The Lord. They allowed my dad and I to cover every aspect of our lives together; to be thankful for every joy that we'd shared; and to apologize for any areas where we'd fallen short. No words were left unsaid. He knew exactly how much I adored him and I knew beyond any doubt, how deep his love ran for me.
It's impossible to feel true loss without ever having felt true love. Experiencing acute heartache while mourning the loss of a loved one, is indicative of the joy that was shared when they were still here and their company was still accessible.
Despite the loss of my dad, there has always remained an inextinguishable delight. For I stand on a promise that is Scripturally assured, and one day soon I'll see him again.
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