Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What Would I Say If I Had One More Day With My Dad?

The major impact of my ministry over the last fifteen years has been the transparency of my life story of surviving childhood physical and sexual abuse at the hands of my Dad. To date, over 1.1 million copies of my testimony have been given way around the world absolutely FREE of charge, either in hard copy or internet download. However, my father passed away in June of 2008, leaving much unsaid between us.
Many who have heard me speak LIVE have heard how my Dad told me that he loved me during a 2007 trip back to the home where I grew up, and where my father still lived until the time of his death. What you may not have heard is that a few short weeks before he died, my Dad asked my younger brother to contact me with the terms of his last request. That request was made with my father knowing the end was near. His request was that I not attend his funeral, and no family member was to notify me of his passing. Although I was notified by my brother on the day of his death, I honored his dying request and did not attend his funeral service.

I was asked a question recently that I had never given much thought to before. The question was simply, “What would you say to your father if you had just one more day with him on this earth?” After much thought in the days that have passed since the question was asked, I am certain I know the answer.

I would tell my father how much I looked up to him as a small boy. From there I would simply add….

“I was so very small and yet you were the biggest giant in the land! I thought you were so smart. You could take a few pieces of wood and turn them into the most beautiful pieces of furniture or cabinetry I had ever seen, while I couldn’t fashion a mud pie without it falling to pieces right before my eyes.
You taught me so many things that are still so deeply entrenched in my character and personality. Things like…never being late, and never losing sight of a goal until it had been reached. You taught me that hard work was no shame and no man was to ever be judged as less than myself.

Even though I was not invited to your funeral service, I had a quiet time alone to remember you…and I cried when I heard that you were gone. I think I cried more for the wonderful times we could have had, and the lost relationship between a father and his first born son that was not destined to happen for us."

But I wouldn’t be able to let our final day together pass without adding these words….

“On the morning I received the call from my brother to say he had stopped by to check on you before heading to work and had found you staring lifeless out the window that overlooked the place where you grew up as a small boy…I prayed that in those brief seconds it took for you to walk from the couch and sit in the chair where you died, that you gave your heart to Jesus.

It was never going to be important whether or not I attended your funeral. Across the span of our lifetimes, you and I had crossed many troubled waters. Along a troubled path that nearly destroyed any remnant of who I was created to be, sweet Mercy crossed the road and gave me a reason to live again. A little farther up that road of life I made the choice to forgive you of all that had transpired between us. I discovered quickly that only when our cup of forgiveness is poured out for others, can we truly be free and whole again. So rather than allow my cup to fill up again with unforgiveness over your decision to exclude me from your funeral…I chose to remain steadfast in my love and forgiveness for you, while hoping so very much that Mercy had reached out to touch you before you took your final breath that day.

I don’t share our story to disrespect you or to glorify the events of our life together. I share our story in hope that other fathers and sons can be free before the end, and never have to wonder… What Would I Say If I Had One More Day With My Dad?”

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