It's almost the 5th Father's Day we've had to celebrate without you. I'm so thankful that you are no longer in pain or suffering but do I ever still wish on a daily basis that you were around. Since I can't tell you that, it somehow feels a bit therapeutic to just put my thoughts out there.... somewhere. I don't know... maybe God gives little windows...?
Your lot of grandchildren has multiplied since you were here... quadrupled to be exact. 8 little Papa-lovers running around for now. I just know they would all be your pride and joy. Whenever I see them all together, or see mom surrounded by them my heart aches and is thankful at the same time. I sometimes try to imagine where you'd fit into the scene as it's happening. Mom has talked about your plans you'd made to take them all on a trip. I so wish that were possible. You'd would just love all of them. Mom of course, juggles her many responsibilities with an incredible amount of grace, but I often wish you were here to take care of her and enjoy it with her. She works so hard and still manages to be involved with each of us and all of the kiddies. It would've been a great honor to watch you guys enter the golden years together.
Last weekend, we participated in Betty's Run for ALS once again. You'd be proud... the competitive nature we all inherited from you has kept us setting the bar high for fundraising and running each year. It was a great day, as usual. So many people continue to come out and support it year after year. I was thinking this year about that says about you and that way you impacted so many people. Your life is still having rippling effects. While I was running I was thinking about that drive we all have and I was thankful. Because of that, none of us can be mediocre or settle for less than our very best effort. I was super happy about that while running up that hill.... not really.... but whenever I'm approaching the top of the hill, I remember you standing there that first year. I thought I was going to die and you yelled, "Go Step Go! You can do it." I exerted extra energy to not burst into tears but as I saw you walk the 5k that day and then battle that awful disease with an unshakable faith, I realize that truly, nothing is impossible for God.
The night before the run, we were having dinner at your house and we all started laughing about how you used to "run" with us. The conversation of course started out with all of us missing you but then ended with, remember when dad used to say, wait for me I want to come with you. Then we'd wait 30 minutes for him to get ready only to have him keep us company all the way to the mail box. Then it was.... you go on. I'll catch up. You'd either cheat and cut across the field to "catch-up" or we'd be ready to send out a search party because you would take a quite a while to return to the house. You always did think you were still young.... :) You will make us smile, even when we're on the brink of tears.
Sophie "called" you from her pretend princess phone and said, "Hi Papa, You cumin' to yo 'wun to-mow-whoa?" Then as we were parking the morning of the race, she asked me, "Is Papa cumin' today?" We talk about you all the time. I'm sure the kids will grow up feeling like they know you but wondering why they didn't get to meet you. Sophie is quite a bright little crayon. I'm always amazed at how kids just take things in stride. When I tell her you're in heaven with Jesus, she just nods and continues on with her activity. She loves to look at my photo books. She's always staring at the pages and studying what she sees.
There are so many times I've felt overwhelmingly sad for what was lost, but cannot help but park on gratitude. Even since you've been gone, I feel like I've gotten to know you more. I've heard more of your life and struggles before you came to know Jesus and it's given me a deeper appreciation for the man you were and the life you lived. I was asking mom a couple of months back if it was a struggle for you to change some of your social activities of choice after you became a Christian. She told me that as you got into the Word and grew in your relationship with God, things just kind of fell off you. Once again, I felt thankful for what God did in your life and the fact that I got to reap the benefits of His activity in your life as I grew up.
When you were sick, I remember a conversation we had with the letter board. You asked me what a blog was. :) I guess someone visiting had mentioned they were reading it. I told you that I had been writing about you and all you did was shake your head. You said, "Only the truth." You didn't want me focusing on you, but the gospel. In the last few years, many things that I grew up knowing in theory have come to life. That is one of them. I've realized the power of the gospel in my own life and in the live's of others. Once again, it's left me thankful.