Friday, October 30, 2009

Nine Years Ago Today

Well, today marks the ninth anniversary of the passing of my father.

While I'd love to say that there isn't any sadness left in my heart, I'd be more accurate in saying that God has replaced my sadness of loss with a tender remembrance of the little things -- a sweet reminder not of the loss, but of the life. And a hope of seeing him again someday in eternity.

Each year marks a bit more ease in my spirit in the grieving process. Everyone goes through a healthy season of grief when a loved one passes on. God gives us permission to be sad! But my hope is that each of us will get to the point where we allow God to bring sweet comfort to our hearts, drawing us out of dispair into hope and loving remembrance.

As those who are left to roam the earth a bit longer, we all have a choice each day. We can use these reminders of loss as a trigger that will bring about grief and pain, or we can use these moments as a trigger for joy, and gratitude to God for the life we shared. Keep in mind, it is always a choice. A choice each of us much make as we are dwelling on the loss of a loved one.

I never realized how much I was like my dad until he passed away. Our silly habits, sense of humor, how easily our hand rests on a hip when we get frustrated, and even the way we build a sandwich (as the family laughs, immediately picturing the architectural masterpiece of the post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich...). There's no mystery that I'm his child, that I come from his gene pool. I'm a part of a bigger picture - a family tree. He played his part, and I will play out mine.

You know, I can't help but reflect on how God has used this experience to draw me closer to Himself. Through the loss of my earthly dad I've better understood the role of my Heavenly Father - who has lovingly comforted and guided me, filling the empty places left by loss. I understand better how my relationship with Jesus will come out in the funniest ways, as I just do things like Him - and it brings me joy when people see the similarities.

I see with more clarity the role I have in the big picture of God - as a child in a much larger family and family tree. I have a part to play, as does everyone else in that family line. And, I have hope. Hope in the midst of loss, and joy in the midst of pain. Why? Because it only takes a moment to remember the sweet times that the Lord has carried me through tough times to realize He's with me - though unseen or seemingly unfelt; He's there. And I will forever be His child.