7 years

So many times recently, I have thought about how many years it has been since some event in my life occurred, and nearly every time I am in disbelief.  It has been 12 years since I graduated from high school, 8 years since I graduated from college, and 4 years since I graduated from Seminary.  The further away I get from these events the less real they feel, almost as if they didn't happen.  May 31st marked the 7th anniversary of my Dad's death, which is the hardest one for me to believe.  Yesterday, Fathers Day, marked the 7th Father's Day celebrated without him and even though in many ways it was the "easiest one" so far, it will never be easy. I want to be at a point where it doesn't hurt or make me sad. I want to be in a place, where all I do on that day is cultivate a deep heart of thankfulness for my heavenly father, but I am still, after 7 years, not there yet, though I would say I am getting there. I am learning.  I am growing, and most importantly, I am healing.

I miss him.  It is that part of us that is bound by a heart created for eternity that can never really comprehend not seeing someone again, or talking to them again.  I remember being on the plane from Nashville to Columbia the day my dad died.  I was numb and as I sat down on the plane I noticed a man and his daughter in the row next to me.  He was fairly young and she was maybe 7 or 8.  I watched them for a while and I had a strong desire to tell them to cherish it; cherish each other-he as a father and she as his daughter.  I still feel the same today when I see fathers and daughters.  As humans, that is one of the hardest things to deal with when someone is gone--wrestling with all of the things that you didn't do or how you may have taken a relationship for granted.  So, daughters and sons, CHERISH your dads.  Overlook their faults and focus on the fact that you know they love you.  They LOVE you and they are showing it the best they know how.  Fathers, lavish love on your daughters.  CHERISH them.  Never let them think otherwise and never let them think, by how you divide your time, that something else is more important than them.

For me, this is not longer a lesson I can practice with my dad, but it is a great relational lesson that I try to apply in other contexts.  Cherish people! Paul says, "For God is my witness, I yearn for you with all the affection of Christ Jesus!" Philippians 1:8  Now that is something to attain to: an affection for others that looks like the affection of Jesus.