Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fuel For the Fire

Writing is therapy, at least it seems that way to me.  I find it interesting that my wife had prodded me to start this blog years before it really began to serve a different purpose.  Writing gives me the opportunity to thoughtfully express what I am feeling inside, to transcribe the raw emotions that I am experiencing, and to share with honesty and transparency.

My last two years have been incredibly difficult.  In the midst of losing both of my parents, I have had to finish my seminary degree, have had a third child, have been involved with a church split, have been part of a church plant, have been executor and keeper of my father's estate, and have had various other challenges that have faced me directly or indirectly.  The old adage that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger has seemed more true than ever.  Only by the grace of God can I stand.

All of this is just fuel for my writing fire.  I will continue to write to bring healing and restoration to my soul.  I believe that we are a storied people, and while we have lost much of the tradition and heritage of stories within our own culture, we still cling to the power of story as we watch films, read books, and seek out anything that seems interesting, inviting, and even similar to our own lives.  Story makes an impact on us, especially when we find that we can relate to the story being told.

My hope and prayer is that God might use my story for the sake of healing in others.  I am not the only one who has experienced difficulty.  I am not the only one who has struggled through hard times.  But when we come together and share our stories, we realize that we are not alone.  We realize that we are together in situations in which we thought we had been abandoned.

There is much more to write and I will do just that.  I will write as much and as long as it takes.  My father was always one to tell stories.  I always loved to hear him speak of his years of growing up or the trip that he took to Europe while he was in college.  He could tell stories and I loved them, even the parts that seemed so dated and hokey.  It was those stories that really revived him towards the end. 

One of the last times that he spent time in the hospital, I remember how one of the nurses and the chaplain spent about an hour with us as Dad just told story after story after story.  He loved having an audience and he would craft the telling of the story according to the reactions of his audience.  In that way, I am my father's son.  I do the same thing.  After Dad had exhausted himself by talking, I remember the look on the face of the nurse as she told me how amazed she was by the life that she had seen in Dad.  It had been missing for so long, but these two beautiful people had given him ear to weave his stories, they had shown him respect and love, they had given him the gift of presence and of time.

We all need to be loved and needed.  In so many ways, that's what I realized that Dad needed more than ever towards the end.  There were stories that I wanted to know more about, but I also knew that he just needed to be loved.  He had lost his companion and his partner amidst one of the most grueling journeys that he had ever been on, and he felt alone.  In the end, my prayer was that he would not feel that way when he died.  It broke my heart to think that he might die all by himself in his room with no one there with him.  What a gift from God it was to both of us that we were together when he passed through death into life everlasting.  I love you, Dad.  How precious it was to spend those last hours with you.  I can't wait to hear your stories again and to give you a great, big hug.  I miss you so much already.

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