We can’t know the day or the hour. On Aug 28, 2020, my sweet Daddy, went home to be with the Lord. The news of his passing was a shock because just ten days prior, when visiting in person, he was so alive. Of course I am sad, but I’m grateful for the Lord’s kindness for allowing one last extra special visit during a pandemic.
I’ve re-lived my final moments with Daddy. And even with an unsatisfactory hug-less good-bye, Daddy seemed good. He was happy and content. We talked of plans to visit over the holidays and promised to deliver all the back-rubs he had stockpiled because of Covid. His last words to me were… “ok sweetheart, Don’t forget… you are guided.”
I smiled. The phrase had become special between us, almost like the secret code to life.
You are Guided
After college graduation, I moved from State College and never moved back, unlike my three siblings and their families. Perhaps because I was further from the nest, Daddy sensed I had further to fall. In any case, this was his word for me and he consistently repeated it, “you are guided.” Those words ended nearly every conversation and were written in every card. And you know what… because he believed it was true, I started to believe it too.
Rolling Back Time
Leaving Daddy this time, the calendar rolled back. As I walked to the car with wet eyes I imagined being four years old, clinging to my Daddy’s hand. Even though I’m all grown up, there is something about our history that makes me more sure footed after time spent with him. I wonder why?
My Father’s Hands
While sifting through pictures, daddy’s obvious traits demand notice — his warm smile, his kind eyes and his easy laugh. But today as I think of him, I remember the feel of his hands. Calloused from years of hard work, those thick sausage fingers would swallow mine. And I know now why I loved the feeling of my hand in his so much. I felt secure and loved in my father’s hands.
Way Back When
I remember when I was a squirmy four year old having to sit still in the center pew of the Methodist Church balcony. To pacify me, Daddy would clasp both my hands in one of his. Eventually, I’d wriggle one free. But it was his hands that held my attention. I would draw on his palm, study his huge knuckles, compare my tiny hands to his and twirl his wedding ring. It’s amazing to me how much time could pass, simply entertained by my daddy’s hands.
I get it now. A sense of security has been my Daddy’s greatest gift to me. And that gift is best exemplified by his strong purposeful hands. When I think about it, his hands were the instruments most necessary for all my gifts as his daughter… provision, protection, correction and love.
As a laborer, Daddy’s hands, quite literally, put food on our table. Yet consistently those hands would clasp together in prayer. My daddy wasn’t a fighter, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t protected. Even though I dreaded it, Daddy had to meet any boy I wanted to date. Daddy’s firm consuming handshake did the trick. Without words the message was clear… you treat my daughter well, she is loved and she has back up.
Yes, it was those same hands that would swat my backside when I needed correction. But then later were quick to hold me and reassure me, that I was forgiven and loved.
No Secret at All
It makes sense to me now. That secret code, “you are guided,” was no secret at all. Daddy was guiding me to the One who guided him. As wonderful as he was as a father, Daddy was a meager shadow of our Heavenly Father.
It’s clear though where my Daddy learned his greatness. He too, was secure in His Father’s hands. And now lives with Him, forevermore.
Romans 8:31.32 If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Romans 8:38,39 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for my Daddy. And thank you for Your provision, protection, correction and love. You taught him well. You are the secure rock we both stand on. My heart is full knowing my Daddy is whole again. I look forward to his strong, secure Heavenly embrace, with no sign of Parkinson’s. Thank you Lord. Amen.
My favorite pictures of my precious Daddy.