Today would have been my dad’s 66th birthday. Instead, it’s his first birthday in heaven, even though we are the only ones who see it that way as birthdays are earthly celebrations.
Last year I didn’t talk to my dad. First ever. Not because I didn’t think of him – I did throughout the whole day – and not because I didn’t want to call him. He worked all day and I had a rather eventful day. Before I knew it, the day was over. (I did call him the next morning at least.) But his last birthday I didn’t even wish him a happy day, or tell him how much I loved and appreciated him. It does bother me.
Standing on this side of the fence, let me encourage you: Don’t choose not to call someone. Don’t put off the phone call or the time spent with your loved one. You never know when it’s your last phone call, their last birthday, last holiday or simply your last day with them.
If I could talk to my dad today, what would I say? The first things that come to mind seem so generic and almost redundant. “Dad, I love you more than you’ll ever know. I miss you so much.” And I quickly add in a whisper, “Please come back!”
But what I’d like to ask is:
What is it like to see Jesus face to face? What is it like to behold the glory of the Lord? What is it like to worship the King of kings? What is like to see heaven’s beauty? What is it like to sing with the angels and saints in heaven?
Oh, the splendid delight his eyes and ears must be witnessing! And the beyond comprehensible peace and joy in his heart!
And then I’d like to tell him:
The role you played in my life was vital and irreplaceable. Your example was not sinless, but godly, even in your last days. You lived your life not to impress others, but in full support of what you believed. (I didn’t appreciate that when I was growing up; it made me very unpopular as I carried the name “goody-two-shoes” on my back like a kick-me sign. But slowly I began to realize life was about living for God first (1 Corinthians 10:31 and Matthew 22:36-40), even if it didn’t always feel good nor win points in popularity contests. You taught me to be wise with my money and time (Matthew 6:19-21). You taught me how a wife and mother should be treated, as I watched you lead, love, encourage and support mom. You encouraged me in music and art, making certain I remembered from Whom my talents came and Whom it should exult in return. And you patiently watched me take picture after picture of the same tree, lake or sunrise. Ha! We often sat down at the table reciting Bible verses before meals, teaching me the importance of Scripture and writing it on the tablet of our heart (Proverbs 7:1-3) and encouraging me to spend my own time in God’s Word. (I could easily continue, but I’m sure there’s a lot of worshiping of the Creator of the universe to get back to! *wink*)
Sadly, I no longer have years to look forward to, but thankfully I have wonderful years to look back on. Years of memories I cherish and do my best to cling to.
Lord willing his testimony and legacy will be carried on through me and through my children.