Tuesday, February 01, 2011

He Knows

By Belinda

This year the anniversary took me by surprise. I had chatted with Mum and Rob that Saturday morning as usual and afterwards I retreated to the quiet and the couch to read my Daily Light.

It was January 22nd, and at the top of the page I saw a note in green ballpoint ink and my handwriting that said, "Dad 'home-going' 2003."

I couldn't let the date go by without talking about it with somebody else who cared, so I called Mum back. She answered the phone with surprise in her voice to hear me at the other end again.

"Mum," I said, "I just opened up my Daily Light and saw that today is the 8th anniversary of the day Dad died; January 22nd.

"Oh, my goodness," she said, "Is it? I hadn't remembered."

I reassured her on that point. How could she remember; she who doesn't need to know what date it is from day to day?

Rob came to the phone then, from the kitchen where some pizza was almost at the point of perfection.

"Yes Belinda you're right," said Rob when I explained why I had called back. And he told me how he and John had been to the grave that week and tidied the grass around it. John had placed some flowers there. He was remembered; Rob's words were a comfort..

The pizza was calling so Rob said a quick goodbye until next week and I went back to the Daily Light and my own thoughts.

I remembered how losing him had been; the exhaustion of the grief that took me by surprise at unexpected moments; a wave of overwhelming emotion triggered by small things; the feeling of utter vulnerability and fragility.

I had expected to be the strong elder sister; to "take charge" and carry Mum and Rob, but I couldn't. I had imagined speaking at his funeral; I, the one most comfortable speaking in church. But when the vicar came to visit and gently asked about Dad's life--who he was--I realized that he expected to deliver the eulogy himself; and I was so grateful to lean into him. I sighed and felt such relief.

But then he left, his gathering of facts done, and I was overwhelmed with panic. Everything I had said seemed so inadequate. How do you sum up a life in sentences so short? I felt that I had failed terribly and got it all wrong. This one chance to tell the world who he was, all the things they would never have guessed, and I had let him down.

The next morning, it was January 29th by then, I opened up my precious Daily Light and read this:
January 29 Morning 
“You are a God of seeing.” 
O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. . . . Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.—For a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.—“But God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”—“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.”
But Jesus . . . knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.—“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Gen. 16:13; Ps. 139:1-4, 6; Prov. 15:3; Prov. 5:21; Luke 16:15; 2 Chron. 16:9; John 2:24, 25; John 21:17 
Can  you imagine a more perfect reading for one who thought that her father was leaving this world "unknown?" I sighed another big sigh; a sigh of relief. God knew him and needed no words of mine to do so.

All was well.

9 comments:

Marilyn said...

What a marvelous recollection and post, and a beautiful application of that passage. Such comfort in knowing we are fully known. There is no summing up that is adequate, but God knows fully.

I have had a request to write about the difference between losing a parent to Alzheimer's (my Dad) and losing one to old age, which I am now doing with Mom. Not the type of writing one runs to, but I find the exploration of losses rich with detail (like you have here) and so much can come from it, even when much time has passed. Wonderful timing for me, this post of yours, as I am tackling the writing challenge today (not blogging about it).

Belinda said...

Oh, Marilyn, God's timing...perfect. I have written about this time of loss before, but I didn't look back into my archives to see what I wrote then. I just wanted to write about how I remember it all now; how precious the recollection of God's comfort at that time.

May God bless you as you write today.

WashingtonPharmGirl said...

This is such a great post. We must remember He knew us while we were yet in our mother's womb. Until we pass from this world to the next, we cannot grasp all that He is, and all His understanding.

Belinda said...

Washington Pharm Girl, It is a comfort to me to know that God knows me inside out. Sometimes we misunderstand one another and wonder if anyone truly knows us. God does; fully; accurately and lovingly.

Dave Hingsburger said...

I'm not sure that its ever possible to sum up a life in a few words. When Joe's Mom died we met with a young minister trying to get a sense of the woman. All our words seems so small against the enormity of the loss. She was so much more than words could describe. At the service he tried valiently but ultimately they were words said by a stranger about a stranger. I think one of the reasons, amongst many, that I am a believer is because of this very fact. If there are no words to describe a person's spirit, then the spirit is more than words - is more than understanding - is ultimately divine.

Belinda said...

Dave, I loved what you wrote in your comment:
"If there are no words to describe a person's spirit, then the spirit is more than words - is more than understanding - is ultimately divine." Yes.

Julie said...

Belinda, I am behing in my reading as you can see. Reading your post brought me back to a random conversation that I had with a lady in No Frills yesterday. I knew I only had a moment of time to witness to a lady about Jesus. After reading your post my thoughts went to how at times we are unable today to describe the life of the one who came for us, Jesus

storygal said...

A thoughtful post on remembering your father and the inadequacy we feel on fully describing that person's character. Even if we were to write it out in advance, when a loved one is still alive, we'd probably feel the same way.

Belinda said...

Yes, Storygal, I believe you are right. I have such admiration for people I have seen get up at funerals and give such moving tributes to loved ones. I don't know if I will ever be able to do that.