He lay there on the hospital bed. A simple medical procedure had gone wrong and the family rushed to his side. For five days we waited.
As I waited and most days since I’ve asked myself:
Why had I not listened? Why had he not shared? Many times I have wished my dad had been able to open his heart to me. When I was a child he was too busy, unable or unwilling to talk, or I was unwilling to listen. As I grew older and wanted to learn from him, he felt inadequate and could not share what he had learned. I longed for him to wake up so I could tell him I love him, to hear him say he loved me. I longed to be able to hear from his lips words of trust in Christ, but he died.
Many of you are struggling just like I am with the last stages of our lives; even though we really are still are a little child in our hearts crying out for love and reassurance.
At times I am a 77 year old little boy crying out in the night.
There are many times I wish I could go to a special drawer and take out a letter from him and read and re-read the gleanings of his life that would help me with each new stage in my life, but there were no letters. Many times I wish I could into the memory bank of my life and remember a time spent with him, and some advice he was passing along to me.
- How often I wish I could ask him “Dad, do you trust Jesus as your savior?”
- Will I see you in heaven?”
- How often I’ve faced crisis with myself, my marriage, my children, or on health or work issues and wished I could ask him to help me.
- What were the spiritual lessons the Lord had taught him?
- Did he love me?
- Was he proud of the man I had become?
I am like my dad. My mother once said, “I wish you had inherited some of your dad’s good qualities”.
Ask yourself what did your parents do right… and you do them also!
Ask yourself what you wish your parents had done…. and you do them!
Ask yourself what you wished your parents had said… and you say them!
If you are driving down the road and you think “I sure do love my child!” go to a phone and call them! You will fill a hole in their heart by your words.
If you are facing a crisis in life, write to them, pick up a tape recorder and tell them of your life lessons you are learning because they are walking the path right behind you! YOU, not someone else, YOU, not their Pastor, or friend, or a book can be used to help them along the path.
YOU! Whether you were a good or bad parent, you whether they were a good or bad child, YOU, whether there was divorce, or separation, drugs or alcohol, good memories or bad, YOU and ONLY YOU can fill the holes in their heart.
Some things you might share with them:
- What does the Lord Jesus mean to you?
- Do you know you are saved? (What are the reasons for your confidence in your salvation)?
- Tell them of times you have prayed. (Tell of answered prayer).
- Tell them of how you have learned to forgive yourself.
- Tell them of how you have learned to forgive others.
- Tell them how you struggled to control a life controlling quality in your life such as anger, fear, worry, and doubt a sinful thought life.
- Tell them of the times when you faced severe temptation and how the Lord helped you… or the high price for stupidity you have paid.
- Tell them how you faced depression and how you learned to face it.
- Tell them you love them. (Not because they have done something good, not if they do something good, but you simply love them).
- Tell them the good things you see in them… let others tell them their problems.
- Tell them how your faith, your Jesus, or some scripture comforted you in a time of loss.
- Ask them to forgive you for your failings as a parent.
- Tell them of your fears, your frustrations in growing older, they will have to pass this same road.
- Tell them of your hero’s. (Of the people in your life who have marked your life).
- Tell them of your regrets… but don’t make others the bad guy.
- Tell them the things you have learned about being a healthy Christian.
- Tell them of the things you learned, some too late about being a good husband or wife.
- Tell them the fun memories of your childhood.
- Tell them what you’ve learned about friendship, of finances, of fun.
- If you have had a poor marriage, unfaithfulness or divorce, don’t share the reasons, don’t make others the blame, but share what you’ve learned.
- If you were a bad parent, tell them what you’ve learned and how you wish you could redo it.
- If they were a bad child, give them a chance to be restored.
- If you have learned things about the Bible, how to study, what books helped you,
- If you have learned how to pray, how to stay faithful, tell them.
- If you have dreams yet unfulfilled, tell them.
- If you have gone to counseling… tell them… they need to know we don’t have to be the tough guy, a self-made person.
- If you are having doubts and fears about death tell them.
Write to you grandchildren.
Send them gifts.
Build memories for them to hold in their heart after you are gone.
Listen to them; grand parenting is God’s way of giving us a second chance.
Here is what I want them to know.
1. God loves them.
2. I love them.
3. I don’t want to go to heaven without them.
Little Bill with a Big God.