Friday, November 10, 2017

Light Shining Bright

This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

Our pastor’s sermon on Sunday was about saints. She quoted the story, of which there are several versions (which leads me to think that perhaps the story was created to prove a point), about the little boy (or girl) who explains that a saint is “someone who the light shines through” after seeing beautiful stained glass windows in a cathedral.

Even if the story is not a true story, it is true. That is exactly what a saint is--someone who the light of God shines through--and it could be the man next door, or the Sunday School teacher you had as a child, or your very own father.

On Wednesday I bought a birthday card for my dad’s 93rd birthday on Monday. I thanked him for being a wonderful father and for the wonderful memories he left me. I wrote that I sometimes wished I could be daddy’s little girl again, and go fishing with him, or have him take me to school on the bicycle, or hang out with him in the garage while he worked on a car, or even making sure he had exactly 5 ice cubes in his iced tea. I put $10 in the card and sent it to my sister to buy some treats for him when she saw him on Monday. I would have told him all of that when one of my siblings called from the small party they were planning for him so I could sing Happy Birthday to him.

Yesterday morning, my youngest brother went to the group home where Dad was being cared for to wheel him to the hospital, which was within easy walking distance. Dad had an appointment with the eye doctor.  As they were getting him ready to go, my brother said Dad just stopped breathing and he died. Just like that. He died.

If he had agreed to the pacemaker the doctor wanted to implant a year ago, he probably could have lived quite a bit longer, but he refused. He had spent years visiting people in the nursing home, and he did not want to end his days as an invalid because of other medical problems but kept alive by a device. Knowing he was refusing treatment was hard to accept at the time, but now I see that it was a good decision.

I remember telling a friend in September how important it was for me to make the annual trip to California because I never knew for sure when our Dad was going to die and every visit could be the last one. This time it was the last one.

I have hundreds of picture of him at various stages of his life and with various family members, so picking a couple is rather hard.

I especially love this picture, which was taken in 1970. 

He had a very mobile face and the knack for making crazy faces and making everyone laugh. He was so much fun.  

And another side of him in a picture taken in 2008: 

He read the paper. He didn’t just skim the headlines, he actually read all of the articles and did the crossword, and although he never bet on a horse race, he loved horse racing and he picked the horses he thought might win at the area race tracks, depending on the time of year. Every day he cut out certain comics that he knew I liked. and he mailed them to me in  letter once a week.

He was the song leader at church for many years, and he loved the old hymns. And even though he could not remember what he had for breakfast, he remembered the words to those hymns.

Hey Dad, you're "gathering with the saints at the river that flows by the throne of God" and it was a glad morning yesterday when this life was o'er for you and you got to "fly away to a land where joy shall never end." You're there now! Someday I'll be flying away myself and joining you and Mom and Nathaniel "in the sweet by and by..."

I love you!


Smurfy turf said...

The light certainly did shine through Uncle Glenn's spirit his whole life. It is wonderful to know that you were able to see his just weeks ago, on your recent trip to California. Thank God for that, Leilani.
Every visit to see my LA family encompassed time with Uncle Glenn and Aunt Edith. There was so much love, good food, piano playing, singing and laughter every time I visited. I treasure all those memories.
Love and hugs to you, dearest cousin.

Henny Penny said...

I'm so sorry. Sounds like your dad was a wonderful man. He went so peacefully, didn't he, and that is a good thing. I'm glad you got to see him, not too long ago. Wishing you a late happy birthday.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am so glad you saw him last summer. 93 years is a life well lived shining his can see that in the photo holding his leg up and grinning.
I am glad your brother was nearby when he departed this earth, that should be some comfort to you all.
My sincere sympathy. I will share this with you because I think it is an awesome thought.
The Departure Date

James 4:14 (NCV) Your life is like a mist. You can see it for a short time, but then it goes away.

You, as all God’s children, live one final breath from your own funeral.
Which, from God’s perspective, is nothing to grieve. He responds to these grave facts with this great news: “The day you die is better than the day you are born” (Eccles. 7:1 NLT).

Now there is a twist. Heaven enjoys a maternity-ward reaction to funerals. Angels watch body burials the same way grandparents monitor delivery-room doors. “He’ll be coming through any minute!” They can’t wait to see the new arrival. While we’re driving hearses and wearing black, they’re hanging pink and blue streamers and passing out cigars. We don’t grieve when babies enter the world. The hosts of heaven don’t weep when we leave it.

Max Lucado from “Come Thirsty”