Sunday, November 20, 2011

Love Wins

A year ago my Dad died.  It's been a rewarding and hard year. We are still re-building from the fire. It has been fun and rewarding and exhausting and taxing all at the same time cause we live in a house under construction, meaning we haven't totally unpacked. This has led to double purchases and entire school subjects, as well as shoes and other sundry items, being missed. We continue to homeshool. It is, as always, fun and rewarding and exhausting and taxing. Our life is about extremes. Some we've created ourselves. Some have been thrust upon us.

Coming to terms with my Dad’s death has been rough. He is the man who got down on his knees with me and led me in the sinner's prayer when I was 20 after walking away from the pastorate and the church when I was 5. He is also the man who spent the last many years trying to talk me out of my beliefs, speaking with ridicule about those who commit themselves to a "model of conformity” and pedantic religion. My Dad was a man of extremes. Like his Dad he was charismatic and passionate and could talk people into complete and total paradigm shifts. He could also be moody and cold, his lack of response to people chilling. He read voraciously and was incredibly educated but would not engage in logical debate if it did not suit his purposes.  It could be fun and rewarding to be with him and exhausting and taxing. In that, I’m sure he is like any other person. The difference being that he was my Dad. Not a stranger. Not someone I was indifferent too.

My husband used a phrase this morning regarding a proposed interaction with someone: "It will only serve to underscore the basic alienation of the relationship." This is what Christ did for my father and I. Christ underscored the alienation between us. My Dad was always asking, always demanding, in his charismatic way, that I give up my religion (never understanding that it was the person of Truth, not a religion that I follow- but even that statement is divisive because who am I to declare “Truth”- as if I know and others do not? I only know because I know Jesus, the Son of the Living God), and follow something less hard, more “rewarding,” more power and wealth oriented, more “successful.”  

Years ago, as a new believer I was under the naive assumption that I would pray well and hard, witness vibrantly through words and actions and those that I loved would see the Way, the Truth and the Light, embrace Jesus as a Risen Savior and life would be happy and fulfilling. The prayers of a righteous man (or woman) availeth much, true? And yet, Christ was the divisor between my family and I. Scriptural, I know; immensely painful, yes. I’ve been told, that I should rejoice in sharing in Christ’s suffering, that His followers will share in his loss, his ridicule, his pain, his alienation. Truth is I don’t; I don’t take comfort in it, not really. I know in my heart of hearts that that is the way of things. But my heart hurts.

It has shaken me to the core this year how foundational my Dad’s thoughts, paradigms, love, has been to my life, even when we both choose radically different paths to follow.  I though that I was past caring what he thought. I was past being hopeful for his approval. I was past being a small child longing for their Daddy. But no; I am not.

I loved my Dad. He loved me. That is something I know. And I trust that Love – the person, the Truth, won out in my Dad’s life. Love won out.  

Shabbat Shalom link up at Pebble Crossing

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