After all that has happened in the past few weeks, I am sad to say that my dad has passed away. It’s been a rough 3 and a half weeks for my family since his stroke, but it finally took enough of his body and mind that I’m actually a bit relieved that he is free from it all. He was at peace and was surrounded by his family right there at his bedside for close to the last 40 hours of his life.
But still, it is hard knowing that I’ll never see him again (as I used to see him, at least). I’ll never talk to him again (although even when I did, I don’t think we understood each other too well). And I’ll never be able to hug him again (this is something we did I think twice in my life: the first when I was born and the second at my wedding for a photo op). Through my grief, I found that I deal in two specific ways, the first is humour, because I need to laugh and remember that there is still joy in the world. And the second is to read scripture, because I know that regardless of what is going on in life, there is good news found in God’s Word, some kind of promise revealed or some sort of hope expressed, that we can cling to as the world seems to crumble around us (something that isn’t attached to the crumbling world, that is).
This collection of readings for this Sunday do bring me comfort and peace. Why? Because they remind me that God is with us in everything that we do. God is behind us, pushing us forward and preparing us to act. God is ahead of us, setting the stage for our arrival and service. God is with us, among us, granting us joy in the here and now, taking away the guilt and regret of our past failures and the anxiety and worry of controlling our futures. There is joy in us just being us.
I look at the parable of the sower. I’m sure that in the story, people might see this guy wasting his resources by throwing perfectly good seeds onto unfavourable growing conditions and laugh at his silliness and uneducated and haphazard farming skills. But buddy didn’t care, he just wanted to throw the seeds around. If it lands, then cool. If birds eat them, then they are fed. If weeds choke the seeds out, then well at least it was fun while it lasted. This sounds like the actions of a person who isn’t concerned about the past or future, but rather lives in the present with appreciation of the past and a hope for the future.
So while I grieve the loss of my dad, I can look back at my life thus far and appreciate all that he has done to raise me, support me, and turn me into who I am today. And I can look to the future, knowing that I am prepared to be that person that I am because of my father, and live in the hope that his life will live on in me, my siblings, and in the communities that we belong.
I guess what I mean is that while I say goodbye to my dad in the life, to me it is more of a “see you later in the evidence of your life in my life”. I see parts of him instilled in me, allowing me to be who I am, as I see the things instilled in me by God, that I can be who God has created me to be. So my dad really isn’t going to be too far away, just as God never is far away. Rather we live together united in a beautifully woven web of joy, peace, and love.
God’s peace be with you all.