Sunday, June 19, 2005

Dear Dad, it's Father's Day

Dear Dad,

On earth, it's Father's Day. Well, at least in the part of earth where I live. It was a beautiful, sunny, hot Florida day. You know the kind. I went to church, participated in the service, worshipped the Lord and exhorted others.

I thought of you and how I always called you on Father's Day to say how much I love you, and to thank you for being a such a great dad. Remembering made me smile. My heart was a peace, and my emotions steady and joyful. I called Tony's dad, since Tony is in Guatemala, to wish him a happy Father's Day.

Later in the evening, I played you a song, "Dear Daddy." Did you hear it? I made myself cry, but the Father's kiss of peace remained on my heart.

I keep thinking about that time in Trapp, Kentucky when you left the house early on a Sunday morning to pick up some of the rural kids for Sunday school. I wanted to go with you and ran out of the house as you drove down the gravel drive.

I hollered and waved, "Dad, I wanna go! I wanna go!" But you turned right and headed away. As only a little girl can do, I sank down to the rocks and cried. About ten seconds later, I heard the putter of our old VW Bus, and the crackled of gravel as you turned into the driveway.

You came back for me. Remember? We talked about it a couple of time in recent years, but I can't remember now what you said about that day. With my eight or nine-year-old memory, faded with time, I can't recall the tiny details, but that you came back for me I'll never forget.

Sometimes, a flash thought and picture of you invades my mind and I wonder what life would be like if you were still here? We'd be planning to get together, I know. You would have stories from Aunt Betty's birthday weekend, and news about Uncle Dave, Uncle Phil, Steve and Sandy.

Seems like forever ago that we had the picnics at Lake Roosevelt, and the Indian Burial Grounds in Columbus. Was that the name?

If I close my eyes, I can picture the sun streaming through the tall, green leaf trees of the Shawnee, and smell the rich scent rising from the forest floor.

Was there really a time in life when we gathered to eat, play and laugh on Aunt Ginny's lawn? A time when you and Mom hung out with her cousin, Lee and his wife Erma?

I still hear Uncle Porky's big, rolling, raspy laugh. The smell of cigarette smoke reminds me of him, and Grandma. Days gone by, yes. Days that layer upon my being, fashioning me into the person I am with the wearing of love and time, like the purple rocks of the Rockies awashed with rain and sun.

I remember Thanksgiving in our yard at the Homestead house with your home group. Driving from Ohio to Tallahassee with you, Peter-John, Tim and Joel. Sheeze! I had to drive because you hurt your eye, remember?

Christmas treasures are buried deep in the lining of my soul, sewn together by the lingering melodies of Johnny Mathis and the Ray Coniff singers. I don't think I'll ever be able to listen to Glen Campbell's "Gentle On My Mind" ever again. Too many memories of "the farm," as Steve called Grandma Hayes' place.

I see shadows of holidays and vacations at Grandpa and Grandma Fausnaugh's home in Bexley, and hear the echo of Uncle Curt's laugh, feel the creak in the floor boards under the carpet. You were there. You know. You remember, too.

But better days ahead. I cling to my Beloved. David wrote in Psalm 27, "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD."

So, I wait for the Lord. I take up where you left off, determined to remember how you pursued Him. I will pursue Him, Dad, because you taught me. Because He grips my heart as He did yours. Because you understand fully now, He is all we need.

Funny, writing this, I realize you will never read it. We won't discuss it, but I'm writing it with every ounce of my being.

I'm not sure it's fair that you died at 68, and sometimes it still doesn't seem real. I wake up from a nap and sense something is wrong, then I remember you are gone. Yet, I am confident God took you on your day. The day He planned for you to see His face from the foundations of time. As you are now a part of the Great Cloud of Witnesses, I am comforted.

I love you, Dad. Happy Father's Day.


Christine Lynxwiler said...

Rachel, you strengthen my faith with every entry, especially this one. Thank you for sharing. ~ Love, Chris

Heather Diane Tipton said...

Thank you Rachel. You wouldn't believe the prayer time you just inspired.
Love, Heather

Lynette Sowell said...

I never met him on this earth, but you made me miss him too. Our tears are not in vain. Thanks for sharing. ~ Hugs