I stopped by to see my Dad last weekend on my way to work. My husband's schedule includes 8 weeks in a row of weekends off. That means for me, 8 weeks of working weekends since we alternate to avoid daycare right now. Anyway. Sometimes I leave early for a night shift, go get a take out dinner (Quiznos) and see my Dad on the way to work.
He was already in his bed, but not asleep. He was fresh and clean and changed into his pajamas. They leave the bed low and the siderails down, a policy that is supposed to prevent falls. I pulled up the chair and started dinner as he was resting and sometimes quietly talking. I didn't understand what he said. Sometimes I would talk too. He didn't understand what I said either. But we were both ok with that.
Sometimes his brain makes him very unsettled and the opposite of peaceful and quiet. But that time came earlier in the day and for me he was content.
hanging out with the family
After I had finished my dinner I put my hand on his arm. He didn't seem to mind. I was happy in the moment. I decided to try and hug him, so I lay my head on his chest. I felt content. In that moment, not sad that he didn't put his arm around me or kiss my head as he once would have. Just happy that he was there. Happy to be close. I love my Dad.
Many times in these last years I have been sad at what was happening to him. What he was missing out on, what we were missing out on. But that didn't occur to me at all. I was happy he was there. Thinking it is a blessing to have him, even if it is different than it used to be.
There is a lesson I have been slowly learning through this experience. Very slowly. I am sure there are lots of things to be learned but it is hard sometimes for me to get over myself and start trying to understand. Self pity and clarity don't go together.
I think the truth that He is "A father to the fatherless" (psalm 68:5) is sinking into my heart. Not only is my security and comfort to come from my Heavenly Father. That in itself is a big lesson that I am easing into as my own father slowly slips away. But also that I am arriving into a pitiable state. I am humbled to becoming one of the least of these. Not that I am not taken care of, I am well loved and well fed every day. I know it is mostly symbolical, a representation of need in that day. But just a reminder that I am in need and I should associate myself with others who are too. "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing." (Deuteronomy 10:18) That is what my Heavenly Father wants me to do. And my Dad probably wouldn't mind it either.
We will never again say 'Our gods' to what our own hands have made,
for in you the fatherless find compassion.