Postcards

Thank you for praying for my father. I dashed that blog so that you all would be praying. Let me fill in the blanks.

On Wednesday I was in the Portland, OR airport (that’s a great airport) in a bookstore looking for a book as a gift for my granddaughter whose birthday is this weekend. I love to haunt bookstores! But I had a particular book in mind. As I was browsing, my cell phone rang – I didn’t recognize the number but I did recognize the area code as the one for Western North Carolina, where my father lives. I answered the phone and it was my father’s “chief of staff”. He is always positive and up-beat. He began by saying, “I want to give you an update on your father.” Immediately, he had my attention.

He went on to tell me that my father had developed a case of pneumonia and the doctors thought it wise to treat it aggressively and keep him in the hospital. At 92, pneumonia is not something to take lightly. Like I said, my father’s chief of staff is always positive and up-beat and reassured me that all was being done and my father was in good spirits talking with the nurses and doctors. We said goodbye and hung up.

A pall came over me. I purchased my book and went to the gate…my mind was now filled with, “What if he gets sicker and dies?” Oh, I know he’d go to heaven and be so happy to be reunited with mother and see his Lord face to face. But I knew I was not ready to face my father’s death. I felt sick to my stomach, chilled. I love my father – he has always given me the unconditional love and grace I needed. It was a security for me – and I tested it many times.

Yes, he was gone so much of my childhood and the growing up years. Yes, he was often unavailable and distracted. And, yes there were times I resented it. As an adult when I tried to imagine God, I always saw him as busy with other people – and distant and preoccupied. Like my earthly father was. I had to work at seeing God as the Bible shows Him to be. Available, near, always listening, not preoccupied with others, delighting in me… And years ago when I wrote a book about my father, Legacy of Faith, I was surprised to find so many letters and postcards that my father had written to me in long hand – telling me he loved me, giving me encouragement and advice…parenting me as best he could from a distance . One was written on White House stationary – he could have been siting talking with the president but instead, he was writing to his daughter because she was important to him. It changed my view of my relationship with my father.

No, I am not ready for his death or the public’s grief. But my mother often said, “God doesn’t give dying grace to living saints.” So when the time comes, God will give me the grace to handle my father’s “home going”.

By the way, I always write a postcard to my grandchildren wherever I am just to let them know I am thinking of them.

10 replies
  1. kr
    kr says:

    Blessings and prayers to you, for the comfort and peace and strength to keep going, and for the health of your dad.

    Reply
  2. Brad Jones
    Brad Jones says:

    Ruth
    Thanks for this wonderful message. Your parents have been so special to me. Praying for God’s best for your father and all of your family in this time of illness. Brad Jones

    Reply
  3. Pam Gonzales
    Pam Gonzales says:

    I am praying for your Dad, your husband, and your grandchild. I saw you at my church last week (Faith Bible) and I didnt realize so much! I have read Ann Graham Lotz book, and given to Samaritans purse but I had not know a lot about you, and to hear your testimony was like listening to my own, I can relate to you in so many ways. I really pray hard for your family, God bless and I truly mean that! Big hugs my friend

    Reply
  4. Kathi
    Kathi says:

    Ruth, it’s wonderful how you continue to share your journey so openly. I will be praying for you and your family and for God’s grace for whenever His timing is for your earthly father to be reunited with your mum and His wonderful Lord.
    Love to you,
    Kathi (from Downunder) xx

    Reply
  5. Lorna Harper
    Lorna Harper says:

    Hi Ruth, I hope your dad gets well soon 🙂 I think of your family often, but in this busy world kept forgetting to get in touch. I hope all is well. Would love to hear about Greg’s progress and journey since I last saw you both. Lorna (RN)

    Reply
  6. Nell Tiller
    Nell Tiller says:

    Dear Ruth,

    I have not been quite ready to respond to this post because it brought back memories from 1996 when my father (75 years old farmer from South Georgia, and also a Graham) became ill with pneumonia then double and then a condition called adult respiratory syndrome. His lungs became the consistency of wet cement and he could not breath without being put on a machine. I had to wait until I heard that your father has returned home for recovery. My prayers are with you and your family.

    Nell Tiller

    Reply

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