Life is a succession of seasons. Some are long and some are short.
My latest season has been going on for a little more than a year now. Our world was turned upside down the day my mom suffered not only a heart attack but at least 3 mini-strokes. Unfortunately, our lives would never be quite the same.
Prior to that when I’d make my daily phone calls to check on the folks it was my mom that I spoke to the most. Not that I didn’t want to talk to my dad but he always seemed to have better things to do. I guess that’s how it was alot as I was growing up too. After he put in his long hours at work, we spoke at supper then he’d read the paper. Before you knew it was time for him to go to bed by 9 so he could get up long before dawn to do it all again.
It was mostly me and mom that did things together. Girl things like shopping, painting bedrooms, cooking & watching the Miss USA pageants all the while talking about whatever.
Try as I might I could rarely seem to find something my dad & I had in common. He didn’t like my music. I didn’t like his war movies and he definitely didn’t like MY movies. Our one common bond was being at our camp where we hunted through dumps finding treasures that someone had discarded or going to fill up our empty milk jugs with the cold spring water nearby. He was my dad...the family bread winner, the disciplinarian, the head of the household & someone you didn’t want to make angry. Someone I looked to when I needed wisdom & guidance.
Just as our life changed that day last May, my perspective and priorities have changed as well. I have had to rely on my faith in ways I never thought possible. And it has been stretched and strengthened in ways that I never realized was lacking. Add to that my specific & deliberate journey of ‘joy’ since the beginning of the year and wow, what a time it’s been....I still perhaps have not reached the full impact of it all but it’s true that it’s not the destination but the journey that is important.
Which brings me back to my dad. It occurred to me the week of Father’s Day. I felt something special when I bought his card this year. I can’t explain it exactly. Although I have always loved my dad of course, there was just something different, a higher meaning, if you will as I read the words on the card. Then it occurred to me, I have been given a wonderful gift in the midst of these trials. And I was again reminded of James 1:2 “When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy”. And as you know I have been doing my best to make joy my #1 choice in all things. (Joy, the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.)
Maybe I was finally getting ‘it’ because it was like a light bulb being turned on. As much as it has pained me to see my mom’s health & mental capabilities declining, I have been given more time with my dad! Not just quantity but quality! It wasn’t just the status quo.
Each morning when I call at 9 am to ‘check in’ he is eager to talk! lol We now also have regular breakfast dates at the local diner, go to yard sales together, and we compare notes on techniques & supplies when we’re doing our individual handiworks. (even if he’s never done it before he can fix anything!!!.. broken figurines, old-time toys, weaving rocker seats etc) He has trusted & looked to me to take care of everything from his banking to overseeing my mother’s care. Our roles in many ways have reversed. Ultimately though, he has become my friend!
Who knew that by ‘Choosing Joy’, I would be granted such a priceless gift!