Hey, That Old Guy is My Dad!

I ran into Kroger today. I had just enough time to make my swath through the aisles and get back home before the school bus came. Coupons in hand, I was on a mission to remain devoted to my short, stick-to-it list. I was distracted by an old man wearing the typical old man, greenish/gray sweater. The kind that zips up in the front, Mr. Rogers style.  He was using a cane and moving very slowly. He was adorable…then I realized it was my own dad!

He was going in through the exit door, just what you would expect from an old man. But, he’s not any old man, he’s my old man. Apparently, mom was doing some grocery shopping and he was wandering in to find her. I pushed my cart through the produce, dashed from one item to the next and ventured to the front. I discovered mom in the check-out lane while Dad was slowing maneuvering his way from the pharmacy…getting prescriptions filled, as usual.

There’s something about seeing a sweet old guy, hobbling along with a cane. But when its your dad, hobbling, and being old…it isn’t so sweet, its more, sad. I see him in his element, at home, on the farm. My eyes, my emotions and senses are familiar with seeing him getting around slowly there. But it was kinda shocking to see him out in the real world…being old. We associate old with, let’s be honest, death. I just lost a brother.  I don’t want to think about losing my Dad. I want to be able to talk to him, kiss him on his bald head, hear his stories and his giggling laugh. I don’t want him to be old and fragile. I want him to be vibrant, strong and young. I want to see him move with ease and be able to work those long farm hours and still be able to keep going. I want the ever-growing-closer reality of him being gone to not be a reality.

Dad spends a lot of time in his chair and he loves it when someone comes to visit. He can talk for hours. He’ll tell you about the good ‘ole days, he’ll offer you advice, he’ll make you laugh and he’ll give a good dose of common sense laced with immense wisdom. He’s got time now to talk and to share. He’s can’t work long and hard. He’s available. He’s right there, waiting for one of his kids to show up and in his own way, love on them. He’s right there, sitting across from mom as she crochets her heart out. He’ll wind up the yarn into a big ball for her as she uncoils a new scan. She literally has him wrapped around her heart – with a big bunch of hot pink yarn! Cancer has tormented his body as well as a bad heart and other health issues, but he’s here. Most of the time, he’s there…sitting next to mom.

There will come a day, when God moves him to a new address, a glorious homecoming. He won’t be old any longer, he’ll be more alive than ever. He won’t battle with knees and hips that don’t cooperate. He won’t yearn to be out planting and harvesting and moving cattle…he’ll be in the presence of the King. But, right now, I’ve got my old man and  I’m going to enjoy every beautiful moment with him. As he hobbles, I’ll walk right along side, as he rocks in his chair, I’ll sit next to him, as he tells his stories and talks about how to do just about anything in life, I’ll be making mental notes. And as he continues to breathe the same air as I do, I’m going to continue to be grateful to God for the most wonderful old man, (in my opinion) that has ever graced the earth.

I have the comfort of knowing where my dad is going, when God moves him from this earth. Do you have that comfort with your parents, siblings, spouse, children, or friends….if not – KEEP PRAYING! Don’t give up, don’t stop planting tender seeds. It is not your responsibility to convict them – that’s God’s job, but you can love them, you can pray, you can be a witness.

Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12
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May friendship, encouragement and grace abound!