These Things Happen

Posted: January 21, 2015 in Uncategorized
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The last few weeks after Daddy died I “heard” the phrase “these things happen” more than a thousand times. These were not words from comforting friends and family but from a source inside me. Because the wall of grief kept me from connecting feelings to memories,  I initially didn’t think too much about it …

…then I remembered a time when I was seven years old…

***

Since I grew up on a dairy farm with the normal scattering of mice, it was common to have several barn cats. They just went with the territory. There was never a scarcity of cats. Occasionally we would name one of the cats and it would move from the barn to the house. On a farm, loving animals came with great risk to the heart and this time was no exception. Trying to find a warm spot on a cool day, one of the house cats climbed under the hood of the car to snuggle beside the recently warmed engine. There can not be many worse sounds that starting a car with a cat in the engine. Unfortunately the cat’s back legs were broken, and there was no hope for survival. Even though I had not cared for this cat very long it was traumatic to lose any animal in this fashion.

It was later that evening when Daddy came home from the barn. I was sitting by the window blinking back tears. Daddy never gave much advice. He usually let mama take care of that. But that night was different. He quietly sat beside me for a few seconds. Hot crocodile-sized tears ran down my face. Daddy sighed, tousled my hair, and grinned just a bit. “You know, these things happen…” Although it was common for us to lose animals on the farm, he must have sensed this wasn’t one of those times to rush the healing.  He added… “it doesn’t make it any easier, does it?”

And that was that.

The only conversation that daddy and I had about death.

***

The last eight weeks have convinced me the beautiful moment that Daddy and I shared was not an accident, but it was the Lord lavishing love upon me. Scripture says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Daddy was only sixty seven. He received a clean bill of heart health the day before he died. His death doesn’t make sense to me …no more than a poor kitty cat unsuspectingly warming by the engine of the car. I hope that doesn’t sound frivolous; it is not my intention. My dad’s death is sad, but this story is not. What I am telling you is a sweet gift Daddy has left me … teaching me to affirm the pain of losing someone as I accept the reality of the earthly situation. I don’t think Daddy knew the weight his words would one day carry for me. He certainly didn’t know I would write it down in a blog. Everyday I am more humbled at the omniscience of the Lord. It moves beyond my human thoughts and imagination. Daddy’s words comfort me; however, the Lord’s ability to weave them together through time and space brings me the most amazing peace.

***

How many more times will I “hear” Daddy say…

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Daddy with my niece, Lucy.

“you know, these things happen …it doesn’t make it any easier, does it?”

***

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

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