since you’ve been gone

Dad,

It’s been ten years without you here.

dadandme

No one can tell me that God doesn’t work miracles in the everyday mundane. We wondered how we’d ever make it without you – but the sun kept rising day after day and the pages of the calendar kept turning and the children keep getting taller and every bit of it is made up of miracles. Especially the miracle of moving forward without you.

I miss you more than I could’ve imagined. What’s that they say? You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. It’s true. The very wisdom I used to roll my eyes at I now crave. We weren’t perfect together, you and me, but I miss that sweet place we ended up at. Your capacity to forgive still amazes and inspires me.

I like to think that you’re able to keep tabs on us. At times it feels like you are so far away and other times I think that maybe heaven hovers just above us, only I lack the eyes to see it.

Wherever “there” is, I hope you know that Elijah is just now officially taller than me. That the goofy grin on his face when he (daily) reminds me of this fact is your goofy grin? That he reminds us of you often?  Do you know that Miles loves all things manly and dangerous? The house demolition two doors down is so intriguing to him. Do you know he loves knowing that he made you smile in those last months?

When you look at Ella, do you think of me? She’s full of that spunk that you loved about me (except when it was directed at you). She may even be feistier than me (watch out, world!) and you likely love that about her. When she talks about meeting you in heaven her eyes light up and get misty. Milla is eager to meet you, too, but not until she dies of very old age she says. Do you see how tender-hearted she is? Do you hear any of the smart questions she asks? (Like about the billboards on the interstate trying to show people what will make them happy.)

Are you so proud of Jonathan’s work and the life we’re making in Nashville? (Do you still tell everyone you meet that the only bad thing you could find about him is his love for blue cheese dressing?) He takes good care of us, Dad, loving and leading us well. By your definition, he’s a keeper.

Have you seen how I’ve changed? How I’m marked by your loss, but how that mark is beautiful? I sought and found so much more of the Lord than before you died, because you died. I needed comfort and wanted answers. I found much comfort and few answers and now I know that the only answer to everything is always Jesus. It’s not always easy, but it’s always good knowing that no matter what I face I’ve still got Him and He is all in all. I reached that point sooner than I might have otherwise, because you died. And that’s a beautiful, painful, sanctifying gift.

Missing you is how I hold onto you and so I don’t begrudge the missing. Once I got past the initial feelings of my dad is gone and I can’t breathe, I discovered that feeling your absence gradually became lighter. I found that I can choose to be happy that I had you, instead of only dwelling on how you’re not here anymore. I also found that missing you is a kind of keeping you, and so I’ll never ever stop. I’ve come to know God as Father in ways I never did when you were here. Losing my earthly father made me cling tighter than ever to my heavenly Father, and that’s been such a sweet thing in my life.

I would rather walk with God in the midst of my questions than walk alone with the illusion of certainty. —Josh Patrick

So, it’s a miracle. All those days that have come to pass since you’ve been gone and we are still standing.  God is close to the brokenhearted and His very nearness is a miracle in itself, that He chooses to be near. It’s a miracle that He will hear out our questions knowing that His Son is the only answer we need.

He’s so good, Dad. Even still and always, He’s good. Thank you for pointing me to Him – in your life and in your death.

I’ll love you forever, and I’ll see you when He calls me Home.

your Doll-Lady

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For those of you still in the suffocating-feeling days, months, years of fresh loss: please know that the Lord is right there with you. I won’t promise that time will heal, but I can promise that God will heal you in time. The grief doesn’t go away, but it changes, at least that’s my experience.

If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.—Psalm 34:18 MSG

He’ll help you catch your breath because He is your breath and in the act of breathing, we actually are calling out to Him.

“The letters of the name of God in Hebrew… are infrequently pronounced Yahweh. But in truth they are inutterable….This word {YHWH} is the sound of breathing. The holiest name in the world, the Name of Creator, is the sound of your own breathing.That these letters are unpronounceable is no accident. Just as it is no accident that they are also the root letters of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’… God’s name is name of Being itself.”—Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

By the sound of your own breathing, you are calling out to Him whether you know it or not. He is there with you, friends. Let Him hold and comfort you.

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