Next month will mark six years since I lost my dad. My healing and grief process has been a journey, a journey which has changed and shaped me. People are right when they say that you never recover from a loss. You are never the same, a piece of you is gone, but you put one foot in front of the other, slowly beginning to live again, discovering the “new” normal and rhythm of life.
I lost count of the number of times that I grabbed for my phone to make a phone call to my parents in those six years. To be honest, their phone numbers are still programmed into my phone although they’ve most likely been assigned to someone else by now. I can’t bring myself to get rid of the numbers or the voicemails that I have. On occasion, I’ve listened to them again just to hear the sound of my parents’ voices.
While there have been countless times I’ve wanted to pick up my phone to call my parents just to call them, there have been plenty of other times when there has been something specific that’s been on my mind that I’ve wanted to pick their brains about or just glean their wisdom and experience. That’s been especially true of this church planting journey that I’m on and my desire to just talk with my dad.
“Hey, Dad, I’ve got a question for you.”
“Hey, Dad, tell me about the time when you…”
Hey, Dad, I’m really wondering about how you handled…”
No, my dad wasn’t a church planter, he was a pastor, but there have been multiple times when I’ve felt as if my own experience has paralleled his. The town in which I am planting reminds me in some small ways of my own hometown. They share some of the same characteristics and quirks while also having some stark contrasts. My dad also found himself in friendships with those who held opposite political, ideological, and spiritual views than he did.
It’s funny because there were times when his stance and voice made me uncomfortable. There were multiple times when I know that he angered people in voicing his convictions and yet, he still managed to engage in conversations with those with whom he disagreed.
I’ve not had many regrets when it comes to my relationship with my parents, but I’ve felt a little twinge of guilt in these times, wishing so longingly to have been less selfish than I was so that I could have seen and appreciated the value of their experience. Once they were gone, I thought of a million questions that I wish I had asked them.
I’ve been blessed with a handful of other mentors during this time. I am grateful for their collective wisdom and experience as well as their willingness to share what they have with me. No offense to any of them, but there’s just nothing like the conversation between a father and a son.
I’ll continue to enjoy and take advantage of those great mentors and their voices. There’s a plethora of information and resources that I enjoy that my dad just never had access to (or he avoided because, let’s face it, he wasn’t the most technologically savvy). My faith tells me that I will see my dad again, and I’ll continue to wait for that day, when I’ll recognize him from afar and run to him as fast as I can and say, “Hey, Dad, I’ve got a lot to tell you!”