Saturday, October 3, 2009

Counting My Inheritance

This is not my usual MO.  Normally I am comfy in a pair of my favorite pajamas, settled into "the passenger's seat," as I call it, and prepared to ride it out until the end.  I do my devotions, check the news or vaious other blogs, I journal or work on some of the projects I've got going -- whatever.  In a short while I have to leave for the job that pays the bills; I got up early for a little catharsis. 

You see, my father is very sick -- has been for almost two weeks; I don't think he was originally expected to make it as long as he has.  We are not close, my father and I; no "big blowout," just went our separate ways a long time ago.  I know he is taken care of in the "afterlife department"; he affirms he has accepted salvation and says Jesus is His Lord and King.  He is in his eighties and up until two weeks ago, very active; he has lead a full life and is now in a considerable amount of pain.  His death is the next step, a part he always knew would come, nothing to fear, and as he has always believed, nothing more than the failure of a mortal body to carry his eternal soul any longer.  The dilemma of his death remains with us -- the "still living."

I have a picture beside my closet; I cannot help but see it everyday, as I start my day and as I finish.  When I placed it there, my husband asked about it -- "It is a picture of who I am," I explained.  It is, however, a black & white picture of a decidedly blonde-haired little boy.  He is standing by a chair in a coat, shorts, heavy stockings and button-up boots.  He is not looking at the camera, but is posed with that "up and over, faraway look" in his eyes.  He was my dad.  I have no idea how old he was when it was taken, and no one seems to know much about it, but I've looked at that picture everyday for so many days that I rarely need or want explanation -- knowing would probably change things. 

The picture reminds me that once, my dad was young -- with hopes and dreams and a desire to do the right thing; it reminds me he was not always who I have known him to be.  It reminds me of family that I have never known, and have never known me; it reminds me of family that focused on the next life and did not concern themselves with the things of this world.  The picture reminds me of my youth -- a reminder of days drinking water from the pump outside of my grandparents' house, running through fields with my brother and picking mulberries.  The picture allows me to forgive, to look at the dreamy eyes of a child and learn to love my father from the beginning; the mystery of it all opens the door to things I can never know or understand, a past that holds the answer to where our lives began.  It is my history, my heritage, the story of generations of people of faith, a family rooted in the very words of Jesus Christ.  It is the birthplace of my beliefs, and the portal through which I met my Savior.  It is because of my father's past that I have an eternal future.

My father and I did not always like one another, nor did we always agree.  I am, however, thankful for the Biblical heritage he gave me and the Inheritance to which he lead me.  His presence, whether it remains on this earth or must be remembered from within the confines of a simple antique frame, reminds me to Whom I belong and the Future to which I too, am entitled.  For that, Dad, I am Eternally grateful.

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