Two years is a lifetime when you miss someone so deeply. Today marks the two year anniversary of my Dad’s death. On the one hand, it’s hard to believe it’s been two years. But on the other hand, it often – more often – seems like a lifetime since I’ve seen him. I know he wouldn’t trade his heavenly home to come back here, but sometimes I wish he would.
I remember calling him when the kids would say or do something funny. Sometimes I even think, “I should call Dad and tell him that. He would get a good laugh out of that one.” And then I catch myself and fight to hold back the tears that threaten to flow down my pale cheeks. Although my Dad and I had our ups and downs, we always worked through them…eventually.
Then I look at my own family – my Mom and brothers – and think…”I’m glad he’s not here.” While I would absolutely love for him to be here and see all that has changed in the last two years – my youngest brother & wife moved to Japan for the Air Force and had their first child; my oldest brother and his family moved to Texas for a promotion within his company; and the Lord finally answered our prayers for a full-time ministry for our family and we moved to southern Indiana – I also know some things that may never have changed if he was still here.
Our family changed that day, but not how you might think. As with any family, we had our issues. But some of them became very dark and bitter places of frustration and resentment. And since we are sinful human beings, we each had our own demons we needed to face. We had some apologizing to do. Forgiveness to be asked. And relationships to be mended.
It wasn’t easy.
It still isn’t sometimes.
These past two years have brought up emotions and issues I would have rather kept buried far below the surface. Ones I would rather just ignore and move past instead of take the time to really heal them properly. But in order to do that, I had to do some serious praying and listening to the Holy Spirit. It meant opening up old wounds that didn’t want to be opened. Ripping through the layers of callousness that had built up over time.
To say it was difficult, doesn’t quite define what went on in my heart. At times, it was absolutely gut-wrenching. Change is never easy. But it seems especially strenuous when it involves forgiveness – not only in yourself, but others who have hurt you so deeply. Opening old wounds is never the highlight of any relationship, yet it can be necessary to begin the healing process.
So that’s what we did. We sought after God and asked His forgiveness first. Then we worked to forgive ourselves. And finally we sought forgiveness and reconciliation with each other. While it hasn’t always been a pretty sight, it has been beautiful. I am so thankful the Lord has brought restoration to our family.
So while I would love to have my Daddy back here with me, these past two years have brought about healing and reconciliation that I never dreamed possible. And for that…I am truly grateful.