Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Your Dad went home to be with the Lord today"

There once was a storm in Oregon.  Storms are not unusual there, but this was a very big storm. Trees down.  Power out.  Cell towers without service. Flooding. This storm struck right where my parents, my sister and her family and my niece lived.  We'd watched video as the weather channel reported the chaos.  Since we couldn't get a hold of anyone, we just had to be patient and wait.

During this time, the Lord gave me a very deep calm and overwhelming sense of peace.  It was strangely odd - as if "unnecessarily" present.

I remember sitting at the counter telling Daryl, "I need to be ok with the reality that tsunamis happen, storms happen, bad things happen.  There is nothing I can do to stop any of those.  I'm strangely, totally alright with the fact that my family rests in the hands of the Lord.  Even if a horrible wave hits the entire west coast of Oregon, God will be there with them, even unto death. I need to be ok with that. And amazingly, I am.  I'm so glad this is not all we have to live for.  We have a hope and a future that's sure."

Sounds a bit morbid maybe, but it was a point of mentally surrendering my family to God.  That was a point I had never been at before.  A day or two later, my Dad found a spot where there was phone service and called briefly to say they were alright.  Roads were closed all around, no power, no cell phones, some flooding, but they were safe.  I told him thanks for calling, we'd been praying for them and glad all was well.

That was the last time I talked to my dad.

My brother-in-law Tytus called December 5th, 2007.  He simply said.  "This is Tytus.  I'm calling to give you some news.  Your dad went home to be with the Lord today."  I just remember my heart  feeling like it was going to stop beating from shear shock.  I just remember saying, "What?" since I must not have heard him right.  He repeated the same words this time, his emotions giving away the pain in having to deliver the message.  That "unnecessary peace"  had been put in place by God in preparation for this moment.

My kids immediately felt that there was something wrong.  "WHAT Mom?"  I swallowed hard and told them what Uncle Tytus had said.  Grandpa Dave had gone home to be with the Lord.  "You mean Papa John?" (my dad's dad)  No.  YOUR grandpa. Not mine.  They began to sob and we held each other and cried for a while.  Daryl came home to find us in tears.  He, too, thought he must have heard wrong.  You mean Grandpa John?  No.  Dad.

My dad died of a massive heart attack while helping remove downed trees.  He was only 58.

Just like that.  In a moment, he had left this earth to be in the presence of Jesus! His faith had become sight.  God had prepared my heart for this moment by saturating it with peace.  But the other part of this story? God had prepared my dad's heart, too.  How could I possibly know that?  The final words my dad wrote in his journal just days before he died...

"I'm ready, Lord.  Come quickly."    

I really miss my dad.  There are so many more conversations I wish I could have with him.  Guess I'll just have to wait until I see him again in Heaven.  Like I told my kids before Dad's funeral, "This isn't good bye.  It's only 'See you later'".  

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