Thursday, January 5, 2006

My Father Who Was On Earth

Precious Saints !!!!!

Last week was pretty quiet at work, most of the people were away on holiday and those that had pitched seemed pretty much in a holiday mood. Our mainframe systems were down. So I'm just catching up on reading a few emails. There was this one devotion about missing loved ones over the festive season. When out of nowhere without warning there came this tremendous pain of loss for my dad. I just hurt so bad and I cried and cried and just missed him soooo much, I wished that I actually had got to know him a lot better while he was alive.

A whole stack of memories just came flooding back, some good, some bad. Sitting by the window when I was a little boy waiting for his car to come around the corner on Friday nights. He would be away from home the whole week working at such exotic places like Stompneesbaai, Piketberg, Grabouw and Bredarsdorp. Then I would run down and open the big back gate so he could pull his car in. He'd be dog tired and would pay me to "iron out" the creases on his forehead as he sat down and relaxed on the couch. The way we started having a cup of tea and biscuits together in the evenings (I was a teenager then)and he would tell me very entertaining and amusing stories about his day at work. He'd changed jobs by then so I at least got to see him a bit more. How he was always around to help out his klutzy son, who couldn't knock together two pieces of wood. That was after I got married. Fixing up and helping me buy my first car, a 1970 Mini for R700. Always being there for me but not really being able to show and tell me how much he loves me and I also did not know how to show and tell him of my love for him. His way of showing love was helping me out and doing stuff for me.

Then the emphysema took hold and this incredibly hard working, (I've never ever seen anybody work as hard as my dad) energetic and impatient man struggled just to dress himself and tie his shoelaces. Any visits had to be carefully planned as my mom and dad would prepare and rest before we visited. The weekend before he passed away we went to visit him and he was in bed with the flu. He asked me, "Have I been a good father?" I answered that he had been the best father that he could be. He had known for some time that he was dying and did not have much time left. I could see(and somehow feel) that he was reading his bible and really searching. I was not a Christian then and all I knew was the teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Somehow I knew to leave him on his own while he searched. I could not really help him and I knew that the stuff that I knew would not help him in his search.

Then a week later on a Friday evening I got a frantic phone call from my mom. My dad had fallen off the bed and he was really struggling to breathe (he had not gotten over the flu) and she had put him on oxygen. Then came the battle to get a doctor around to them, to keep my mom calm, to organise an ambulance. By the time Allie and I got there my dad had slipped into a coma. An ambulance eventually pitched up at about 11.30pm. I got in the ambulance with my dad, he was making these horrible sounds as he struggled so desperately to breathe. All I could do was "iron out" the creases on his forehead. The ambulance took him to this run down emergency unit at Conradie hospital. Wounded criminals handcuffed to the beds, paint peeling off the ceilings, Capil asbestos heaters propped up on bricks,doctors so disinterested they hardly seemed human. There was basically nothing they could do for my dad. No matter where I walked in that emergency unit I could hear him, gasping, rasping, gulping to get air into his lungs. It was a truly haunting sound.

Saturday sometime (can't remember exactly when) I had to phone my older brother (Clive). I just remember that he had a choice of two flights from Jo'burg to Cape Town. The first one was a midnight flight and it would get him to Cape Town early hours of Sunday morning. I said he shouldn't hassle too much and take the flight that would get him to Cape Town at 10.30am(or there abouts). I was wrong! Our dad passed away at 8am that Sunday morning, he never came out of the coma. I really should have told Clive to get that earlier flight. It was really hard to tell him when we picked him up at the airport that dad had already passed away. We just went to the hospital and saw his body in the morgue. I think I ironed out his creases for the last time, can't fully remember what we did. My boet was really cut up. I'd never really seen him like that. I know we sat on the grass for a while at the hospital, can't remember what we said to each other, even if we said anything at all.

Of course there is always all the other stuff that happens when there is the death in the family and Clive was a tremendous help. Ja so dad died 11 years ago, Matthew my son is 9 years old. I know my dad would have loved him to bits. There are always those few things that I carry in relation to my dad's death. I'm getting better at letting it all go and trusting God that he is in heaven but sometimes it suddenly just all comes flooding back and then I find a place to weep in my weakness on the shoulder of Jesus Christ our Lord.

It used to be really hard for me to go to hospitals after that and its only after I became a Christian that this experience and the also the death of my mother-in-law the following year that has helped me to minister to people in hospitals, that is when (our eternal daddy)God calls me. Oh yeah that old Mazda was my dads' car, Allie named it after him; Stanley. Somebody shortly after my dads death told me that you only start growing up when your dad dies I haven't really got a comment on that one. I still just simply miss him and want to see him again, maybe have a cup of tea and chat 'bout what he's been doing.

I did not really want to put this together and send it out but somehow I've been convicted to do so. So there it is.

When this happens - when our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die - then at last the scriptures will come true:

"Death is swallowed up in victory. (Isaiah 25:8)
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?" (Hosea 13:14)

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. How we thank God, who gives us victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord! (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)

My Hope Is You - Third Day (Live Version)

To You, O Lord, I lift my soul
In You, O God, I place my trust
Do not let me be put to shame
Nor let my enemies triumph over me

My hope is You
Show me Your ways
Guide me in truth
In all my days
My hope is You

I am, O Lord, filled with Your love
You are, O God, my salvation
Guard my life and rescue me
My broken spirit shouts
My mended heart cries out

My hope is You.......
(Third Day 1997 taken from Psalm 25)

LoCTY !!!!!

PS Okay John I did it!

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