Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Life & Death: The Changes & Impact they have on Us.

First I would like to thank all of you that have been praying for me & my family during this time. It has really meant a great deal to us all. Those of you who responded to help with my finacial need, I don't know what I would have done with out you. Not only did you provide for my travel but were able to reduce my medical debt significantly. Though I am still waiting for the insurance claim to come through I am confident in the Lord's provision. Thanks for being a part of His answer for my need. :)

Obiviously, when someone close dies it prompts us to think about what life and death is all about. It doesn't seem to matter how sure we are about what happens after death before a love one dies, we have to look at it all again. And more importantly, feel the absence of that person: who they were, what they did, the impact they did or didn't have in our lives, the hopes, dreams, desires, wishes, & regrets experienced in and through that relationship. Then once again, the feelings come again. Up and down the rollercoaster of emotions move us. Sometimes they drive us toward something or away to seclusion/isolation or at the very least insulation from the pain of loss. Right when there seems to be a lull then it is like being hit with a gigantic wave that sweeps us right off our feet. Or maybe it is a gentle memory of a special share moment pricks our heart. The real question isn't what we will feel or when we will feel or even if we will feel rather how will we live with, through and be changed by those feelings.

My dad died on September 28th. He was 71 years old. I can't say that I understand or have experienced the kind of relationship he knew with God. What I can say is that he was a man of principle and integrity. He deeply believed there was a right and wrong way to do everything. He defended the orphan, widow, and underdog. He repremanded the unrighteous and encouraged those who were willing to listen, to aspire to their best.

I think that the best way to describe my dad is to point you to the movie "Big Fish". There were 3 aspects of the film that stand out as images of my dad: passionate love for his wife, devoted friend, extravagant stories. Without a doubt my dad passionately loved my mom. I think from the 1st day they met, he was head over heels for her. As a child it was always better to make dad mad then mom, because it would be 10 times worse. My dad would were shoes or socks with holes for who knows how long just so he could have enough money to buy mom something special for her birthday/anniversary/Christmas. He definitely knew how to shop, jewelery, flowers, etc.

Friends: For my dad, every stranger was a potential friend. And many friends became family. Being the only child of an immigrant couple, my dad was a long way from any "blood" relatives. But as his children we had the pleasure and rich experience of many sarrogate aunts/uncles, cousins, & grandparents. These people helped to mold and shape my thoughts, understanding, and ways of living life. Those relationships taught me how to feel comfortable/secure in settings where there were people much older & "wiser" than I. I always knew my place & learned how to respectfully interact with these seasoned jewels.

Everyone knew they could count on my dad in any circumstance. Yeah, there were times that people took advantage of him, but he never let those experiences prevent him from believing in people and helping. He was definitely a man of his word. If he said he would do it or be somewhere he was there & he stayed until it was finished. QUIT was a four letter word he never learned. Praise God!

Like in "Big Fish" the stories surrounding these people and events made them bigger than life but they were real and there was an element within those stories that brought life to the hearts of all who heard the story. I have been told that I have inherited the ability to tell stories and sometimes even to exaggerate, stretch, or imbellish the truth a bit. I pray that I would be faithful to develop the gift/art of telling stories that inspire, encourage and most importantly bring life.

I have now been back in Poland a week & I have barely begun to experience the rollercoaster of emotion. But I know this, that I have been blessed to have had the Father I have had. For sure his humanness has clashed with mine. Yet, I am confident that I am who I am today, to a large extent, because of the man my father was.

Dad, thanks for being the man of great character you were!

PS. I leave for a conference in Switzerland tomorrow and will be away from internet access once again. Thanks for your understanding.