Monday, August 8, 2011

Finishing His Life Out with a Passion for God

I don't even know how to begin this post. I have sat here and typed several attempts at an introduction for this blog post. I stare at it, and then hold down the delete key. I'm not sure if it's because it hurts too bad to put it out there... I'm not sure if I'm worried that it appears I may not have enough faith... I'm not sure if I feel like I've had my share of telling and explaining and venting and rationalizing and grieving about my Mom and her cancer, and now here I go all over again, but about my Dad this time... In any case, I find me and my brothers here in this same spot again. Deja vu. And only 3.5 years later. This time preparing ourselves to say Goodbye to our Dad.

A few months ago Dad was diagnosed with tonsil/throat cancer. Due to the rarity and nature of that particular cancer, the treatment options are limited, and the chances of getting rid of it are slim. After some chemo and cyber-knife radiation, sadly the cancer has spread all over his body. It has moved in aggressively and the Doctors told Dad there is really nothing they can do for him at this point, at least no options here in Tulsa. They are giving him a "few months" to live. He does have an appointment scheduled at MD Anderson in Houston in a couple weeks, and Lord willing, hopefully they will have a treatment fitting for Dad that will give him more time with us.

This weekend my brothers and their families all came to town to see Dad and to have the opportunity to be together as a family (deja vu). A sweet family in our church blessed us with their hospitality and offered us their lake home for the weekend. Together we had an amazing, sad, wonderful, fun, surreal, story-telling, prayerful, emotional, sentimental, painful, beautiful, memorable time together.
Dad wanted us to have communion together as a family. We listened to some of his favorite hymns from the group Selah, then we all dipped our crackers in the juice, partaking of the Lord's supper together as a family. Dad prayed the communion prayer. Hearing him pray like that immediately brought back memories of him praying the communion prayers at church long ago when he was an elder and leader in the church. He thanked God for his grace. For loving us and desiring us, even when we don't deserve it. He thanked the Lord for the sacrifice that he made on the cross so that we get to have life in heaven when life on earth is done.

Dad told us that what he is living for now is to have a Passion for God like he's never had before. He wants to finish his life out with that passion. We laid hands on him, and my brothers and I prayed for him. Janice prayed for him. We prayed for his healing and the treatments and medicines to give him more time. We prayed for his strength. But mostly, my brothers and I thanked God for giving us the kind of Dad that we got. We thanked God for the love our Dad has for each of us. We thanked Him for the times he was hard on us. We thanked God for our Dad's wisdom and understanding and example of what a Father's unconditional love feels like, and how that it has made it easy to understand God's love for us.

In the midst of the storms, we find the ability to be thankful at our core. I can't explain it logically. Maybe because it's ingrained in us... the understanding of it runs through us... its called FAITH. Faith that no matter what happens, God is taking care of us. No matter how painful, or how concrete, or how out-of-our-hands the situation is, God is here. I can find rest beyond belief just in knowing that. And while for the time being, "passion" isn't one of the feelings I can find with-in myself, I will watch in wonder and awe as my Dad is finishing his life with it. And as always... his example to us will no doubt leave a lasting impression.

Daniel and I talking and laughing with Dad

Dad, Janice, and the grandkids...

Dad and Ella

Dad and Brynlee

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