Yesterday was one month since my father passed away. I was fairly occupied for most of the day, so I didn’t get caught up in excessive ponderings about what should or could have been. I marked the date down and again realized the potential of relief that can come when someone has been sick for a while. My approach towards yesterday was very different than my approach had been just a month after my mother died.
In the past month, there have been numerous times that I reached for my phone to call and check on Dad. I wanted to hear his voice and to assure him that everything was okay with me. I wanted to know that he hadn’t fallen or had any other mishaps. But all of that was unnecessary. He’s gone.
Time can be both our friend and our enemy. When we need more of it, it seems that it works against us as a foe rather than an ally. When we work with it, it can be a constant companion to us, helping us along the way, pushing us towards promptness and responsibility.
This morning I read a quote which has stuck with me from Mark Batterson. He wrote, “Hurry kills everything from compassion to creativity.” Every day, that lesson becomes more and more apparent to me. When I am in a hurry, my patience runs thin, my attitude worsens as I find myself rushing to get done what I need to get done, regardless of who is in my way. In fact, if you’re in my way, you will most likely get run over.
This lesson become so readily apparent to me over the last year or so spent with my father. I could never visit him while in a rush. I could never take him out or engage him in conversation if I had to quickly move on to the next thing. His pace slowed down which subsequently slowed me down. And I think that was really good for me. It helped me to realize what was important.
Of course, today, we can easily accomplish multiple things at once as we multitask our way through life with smartphones, tablets, and other technological resources. Not only is there a need for us to slow down but also to intentionally disengage. This is a point of growth in my life, a place that needs some focus. It’s too easy to “just take a second” and check my email or social media, yet what am I missing in the midst of those “seconds” that I am away.
Time is not moving backwards. We can’t turn back the clock. I can’t have my father back, but I am grateful for the many life lessons that I learned from him, directly and indirectly. “Ruthlessly eliminating hurry” is a noble task to undertake, but it needs consistency and accountability as well.
My dad is gone and I miss him terribly, but the lessons that I have learned can help to keep his legacy and memory alive. Months will pass, anniversaries will creep up, and I will deal with them all. Remembering all that I have learned will bring a smile to my face as I realize that even out of darkness, light can come. In the midst of sorrow and pain and mourning, new days will rise. From out of the ashes, like a phoenix, rises life. How can I make sure to live into that legacy? Let those lessons not have been learned in vain.