Dad Shares His Heart
Dad was completely caught off guard by all the incredible changes and transformation going on in his own heart. It’s almost as if he didn’t even recognize himself, as he would frequently mention that he had no idea what it was that happened so suddenly, or what he used to think before that Sunday morning on August 8th. His whole perspective and understanding of God had changed in an instant.
Dad felt completely new, completely free, and he wanted to do his own update on Caring Bridge. He wanted to share about this newness and the new hope and new life he had. But to do this, he wanted to get the dates right, so he asked Mom, “when was diagnosis, when did we go to California, when was this and that?”
When she told him that August 8th was when they went to California and listened to the sermon, he replied and said,
“So August 8th is the day I was born again?”
Mom was a bit taken aback by this. None of us wanted to “lead the witness” so to speak by putting words in his mouth, or goad or pressure Dad into using words, descriptions, or terms that weren’t “his.” We wanted him to be able to define what was going on in his heart and mind in a genuine and honest and very real way. Because of that, we shied away from being presumptuous or manipulating his words or interpreting his experience through what we hoped it was.
So, understanding that, you should know that over the years, Dad would avoid that term, “born again.” That was a term that was just a little too weird for him. Not too weird for others. It didn’t bother him if I talked about when I was born again, or when Mom was, but it just wasn’t something he would ever say about himself.
For Dad, there were some things that were easier to say, and some things that weren’t.
“God” was easy to say,
but “Jesus” was too personal.
“believe in God” was easy to say,
but “I love Jesus” was way too intimate.
“I’m a Christian” was sometimes easy to say,
but “I’ve been born again” was way too weird.
But Dad was too overjoyed to care about what people would think anymore. And too overjoyed to even care about his own fears of intimacy or “weirdness” for the lack of a better term. The most important thing to him now, that changed his life forever, was that he knew that he was given another chance. He knew that God was patient with him, and that even after 68 years of not loving God, God never gave up on him. And now, all Dad could do was be amazed and surrender himself. It didn’t matter how intimate, personal, or weird the terms and phrases were, because they were real.
He really did love Jesus, and he really was born again, and he could not have been happier with that.
So Dad set out to write his own Caring Bridge update, sharing about what had been going on in his life.
Dad's Text to Add to Caring Bridge, September 1st
These were his words. No editor, no ghost writer, no coaching, just Dad’s words. When I got this from him, I was just shocked, and I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
It quickly became real to us, that although it was bad news
on August 3rd that changed his life temporarily,
it was the Good News on August 8th that changed it eternally.
That same week, I preached at church, and I had shared with the church about the conversation I had with Dad when we found out he had a brain tumor, and that I told him that if I had the choice to have him here for just 6 months, but with him fully knowing and being convinced of God’s love for him, versus having him for 20 more years but with him continuing to kick the can down the road, I would take the 6 months all day long.
Mom told me later that day that as they watched that sermon online that morning, that when I said that, Dad spoke out loud and back to the TV, “me too.”
Part 8: Nothing Doctors Can Do