My Dad died Saturday morning, May 15th at 5:55am. Hmm….looking at that number 5, 15, 5:55 Wow. That’s a lot of 5’s . Wondering the significance of this?
So I’m thinking of all the little things about my dad to remember. It’s easy to remember the bad things that happened. The fights, or the angry words or hurt feelings. But it’s not healthy. To remember the good things is much better.
I started by going back through the emails we have exchanged over the years I have lived on Guam. I have probably communicated more via the written word, then we ever did in person as I was growing up.
The emails I have had this year from my dad, assure me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is with Jesus in heaven. My dad knew the Lord. It wasn’t always this way. I grew up in a fairly neutral religious home. I remember going to church as a child, just vague memories of pews and stained glass. When my younger brother was a baby, I vaguely remember (or maybe was told in later years) that it was too hard to take the family to church on Sundays because my dad wasn’t supportive of my mom’s desire. And without that support it was too hard to bring little kids to church and Sunday school. From 1st to 6th grade or so I remember attending Sunday school sporadically with the neighbor family, the Wrights. We would walk to a Baptist church on 18th street. We attended VBS there (or at least I did) during the summer and various other kid club type activities.
After we moved to Powell River, there was no more church for me. My mom went to the Anglican church all on her own. Later, married with 2 children I became a born again Christian and started attending a Pentecostal Church. I think I told my mom something about the Anglican church being boring and stuffy.
When my parent’s divorced a year or two later, my dad decided he would try to change and learn to like the things that made my mom happy. Unfortunately it was too late for their marriage, but in the process he found God. He told me a story about how he attended the Anglican service and during the Peace – where they turn and shake hands with each other – he turned and shook hands with an angel. Most likely it was just a sweet old lady in the church, but something in that simple ceremony touched my dad and I believe he had an encounter with God that day.
So back to the emails. First he sent this simple one:
Here is a question for you:-
"How many times does the word Christian appear in the New Testament of the bible?"
This is such a typical email. Our correspondence would often be short one liners back and forth. A little humor thrown in. A little lesson or seriousness intertwined. With this one I didn’t know if it was a rhetorical question, a joke, or something more serious. I responded with:
My guess is zero. I'm fairly certain it was a word made up after the fact.
I regret I’ll never know what his answer was, as shortly after this email he discovered he had cancer and from there his emails became more serious and guarded.
He also shared a wonderful poem with me. “Truck Lights” by Rene Fumallo. He heard this on a podcast of the Vinyl Cafe.
My dad and I shared recipes back and forth. He sent me humorous email forwards and I in return did the same. Ones that reflected his particular type of humor. Like the one I sent him that showed snowmen in various poses. Kind of a Gary Larson style (He loved Gary Larson cartoons). I said the cartoon reminded me of him. He responded with “my sick sense of humor or are you calling me a cold old fart?”. It was all in fun.
I’ll miss those email exchanges. And the opportunity to see him one more time and introduce him to his two grandchildren, born on Guam, whom he has never met. We will be heading back to Canada late this summer to say our goodbyes.