WARNING: Strong emotional content ahead.
I haven’t been online for over a week now. My dad, who turned 83 last Friday, went into the hospital last Saturday with a really bad case of pneumonia. Believe it or not it’s the first time in his life he’s ever been hospitalized. He was running a consistent fever between 102 and 104 – not good – and his blood oxygen was down to 86% – very not good.
I’ll skip to the important part: he’s fine and the doctors are amazed at his good health, current circumstances notwithstanding. He should be home tomorrow or Tuesday, none the worse for wear and, perhaps, more inclined to go to the doctor when he should. I give God all the glory in his recovery and survival. God healed me in 2011 and he healed my dad in 2014.
This brings me to my point. As I was sitting in the hospital watching the man who had, for all my life, been a pillar of certainty and strength laying on a bed, too weak to walk and losing his breath when he moved to sit up on the edge of the bed I re-realized what is important and what isn’t.
I want many things. I want people to download and use my MathTools. I want people to buy my books. I want pizza and chocolate, I want nice things for myself and my kids. All of that, though, is NOTHING against having my family; my mom, my dad, my wife and my kids. All the money in the world is ashes and dust compared to the time we have with the ones we love and who love us.
How easy is it to get lost in the minutiae of day-to-day existence and to lose sight of why we exist from day to day? How easy is it to allow some trivial, meaningless bullshit to come between us and our loved ones? How easy is it to simply assume our loved ones will always be there? It absolutely tears my heart to shreds when I see children hating their parents or parents driving away their children. It rips me apart to see bone-dumb useless stupidity come between people.
PARENTS: Forgive your children and never let pass an opportunity to tell them you love them. They will make mistakes. They will be stubborn, bull-headed and wrong and they will treat you like the biggest idiots on the face of the earth until the day they find out you’re not that stupid after all. They won’t appreciate what you do for them until life and its hardships knock them around a little. Forgive them that and love them the more for it.
CHILDREN: Forgive your parents and love them anyway. Babies don’t come with instructions and the only real way to handle them is through experience. They know more than you do but they are still only human. Forgive them and never let pass a chance to tell them you love them.
We’re all given only a finite time on this earth and no one knows when God will call them home. I’m lucky in still having both my parents. My wife lost her mother at age 9 and one year ago today my father-in-law passed away. My wife and I both still miss him grievously. I miss his wit, his wisdom and his unique view of the world, God and the Bible. I miss the talks, discussions and even disagreements we had. I wish I’d taken more notes! The one thing neither I nor my wife has is regret. We can both honestly say “I don’t regret not spending more time with him.” With God’s help we will say the same of my parents when they leave.
PARENTS, CHILDREN and FAMILIES: Do not let REGRET be what you feel when your loved ones leave!!! Take the time, MAKE the time to talk NOW! Don’t let stupid shit come between you! Work it out NOW! I do have some regrets about relatives who died. I wish I’d paid them one last visit or talked to them or spent just a few more minutes with them before they died. Those regrets diminish with time but only a little; they never go away. By God’s grace I’ll have a little more time with Mom and Dad. I intend to cherish it. So should you.