My dad would have been 100 years old yesterday. He passed away nearly twenty years ago. It's difficult and strange for me that he is no longer here, but lovely in a way. He's in heaven, and that makes me happy, but I still miss the man. I still grieve. Stranger still, at times I still 'smell' him as though he had not left us. I still 'feel' his arm around my shoulders. He would have appeared an ordinary everyday man to some, but he was my hero, and only the word 'extraordinary' applies to him for me.
My mother is now 83 and still quite active. As strong as my emotions are in this area, I can't imagine what a day like yesterday means to her. She and I went to his grave site yesterday. She brought fresh flowers. A nice surprise was that my brother and his wife were already there to greet us.
It's funny, the things one takes for granted. The gift of memory is one such thing. I don't know that I have really appreciated having a decent memory beyond the practical side of things. My memories of my dad are so fresh. I can 'hear' him saying things, and I can 'see' so many episodes of my life with him transpiring again.
What a precious gift that is from God, and oh so highly valued. Sure, we can remember the bitter with the sweet, but there is a strength that can be gained from some of those memories too. They can be painful, but they can keep us honest. The painful memories often bring to the fore our appreciation for loved ones lost, but they can also heighten our anticipation for renewal and heavenly reunion.
I miss my dad, but what wonders has he seen? One day we will know. My wife and my mother and I, and all of our brothers and sisters in Christ will step out of these bodies and into eternity to meet my dad once again, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. What a promise that is. Amazing. Just....amazing.