Yesterday my husband and I drove into Oklahoma City to visit my father. He is now incarcerated in a new, yet old, nursing center. I say that because he is back at the facility he first called "home" over ten years ago. I was so happy when he left that wretched place and was sad when I found out he was returning. As we drove along the highway I longed for the days when my father was well. I ran to him for so many things during my childhood and early years of marriage and even now I miss his strength and wisdom. Mentally he's been away for so long and when I needed him this past week he, well...couldn't be there.
I called out to him from deep inside my heart. I begged for him to remember me.
But I knew he wouldn't.
The monster I've grown to hate has lived inside his head for too long.
As my husband, Steven, and I walked down the sidewalk that led to the back entry door into the nursing home I felt him grab my hand for a bit of reassurance. I was thankful he was with me as his busy schedule with school and work allows for little down time. Once inside he kept in step with me until we turned and entered my father's room.
I 've decided I'm never going to get use to seeing my father in a wheelchair. He's suppose to be up walking around with a mug of hot sugared coffee in his hand or sitting behind his desk writing his next Sunday sermon. Or just maybe he'd be off penning a new poem or two about nature...or God. Certainly not this. Not living in this tiny room with gloomy grey walls with a roommate, a man I've never met before, sleeping the remainder of his life away upon the bed nearest the door.
I'm thinking this might be hell...
(or a form of it anyway!)
I've watched my father fade away before my eyes for over a decade now and his slow exit from this earth seems so undignified and sometimes it's unbearable to watch. He's not at all the strong man I remember him being and this day I couldn't hold back the tears.
I sat down next to my sleeping father and laced my fingers tightly within his. He stirred and opened his eyes only long enough to focus upon my hubby standing next to me and to call out his name, Steve. (Strange how he has always known him.) Then he looked at me, squinted a bit, and said only this...
I love you, Becky Sue".
Then he closed his eyes and returned to wherever he had been.
"Come back to me" was all my heart was feeling.
On the drive back home I was reminded of something my father use to say during the many times I came to him as a girl whining and complaining about some little unfair thing in my life. He would always smile, pat my hand and then encourage me to remember that I was never alone and that God's presence would be with me as I weathered my latest, greatest storm. He'd tell me to stay strong and hold onto my faith because the waves of doubt and disbelief were coming and one day they would threaten to toss the ship of my life into the rocks if I wasn't careful...
"When outward strength is broken, faith rests on the promises. In the midst of sorrow, faith draws the sting out of every trouble, and takes out the bitterness from every affliction."
Thank you, Daddy, for the wise teachings from my childhood.
You knew one day I'd depend on your wisdom to help me make it to the other shore. I love you and miss you...
Blessings today as you seek His face.
Love to you...