Almost two months ago I came up with the title for this blog. I wish I had written it then. The title was a phrase that popped into my head on one of my frequent visits to see my dad, who lived in an assisted living center. At first, I was thinking about all those old folks, and how they all used walkers to get anywhere. And to be honest, as you know, I was also thinking about my dad’s poor health, with most of his problems being related to his long-term only moderately controlled diabetes. And originally, in my brain, I used that phrase ‘a life well-lived’ to mean that I just wanted to keep myself healthy and fit so I could say at the end that my life was a life well-lived. And then I realized that in spite of his poor health that phrase perfectly described my dad’s life. PERFECTLY.
My dad died yesterday morning. I’m so very glad I made the decision to go down and spend the previous week with him. I am sad, but I am okay. My dad spent his entire life serving the God that he loved so much. And he is happy to be in His presence now.
Two years ago, when he moved into this home, he started a Bible study for the ‘old folks’ even though he was still grieving the death of his wife. In the last year he has mentored a young pastor at his church, and just a few months ago was put on the elder board at their church. They were so kind to dad–they had their meetings in his apartment because it was too hard for him to go out. He dreamed of starting a discipleship program for the young men at his church.
He spent his last week dictating letters of encouragement and love to the people closest to him. The last day, when the hospice nurse came, (we had hospice for one whole day!) he was quoting his favorite Bible verses to her. And when his pastor called that evening, Dad SANG a hymn to him!!
I was thinking today how very blessed I was to have a dad like my dad. Some dads are good ‘kid-dads.’ And some only become good dads when you are all grown up. But my dad did both well. He was the best kid dad around. We took trips to the zoo, and the aquarium. He read books to us, and played board games (and never let us win!) He indulged my love of dogs, and always encouraged whatever craft I was involved in. In fact, he actually bought both of my sewing machines.
And then when I was grown-up, we actually developed a closer relationship. I always called on Dad when I had a spiritual question. He actually didn’t like giving advice, but he always listened, and would give his opinion when pressed. He was a great encourager. But most of all, he loved me unconditionally.
I can only hope to live my life half as well as my dad lived his life.