When a close friend or loved one has died, I slip into a state of remembrance. I grieve. But, in the process, I remember the shared moments–the ones that stand out as particularly funny, difficult, enjoyable, tragic, heartfelt.
These are the moments friends and family share at memorial services and in the days and weeks and months and years following the death of a loved one.
My grief and remembrance of my father stands out. My dad was a quiet soul–thoughtful, hardworking. And, he had a huge heart. As a child, I was his “boy”–the one he never got. So, together, we ran errands. We built, sanded, and painted furniture and birdhouses. We went fishing. He encouraged me, laughed with me, showed me through his actions that he loved me.
He was there for me–at least during most of my young life. If I picked up the phone to talk to him about my struggles at college, he listened and encouraged me. He taught me the importance of patience. The need to give freely of myself to others in need–his life work exemplified this, as he worked with the developmentally disabled.
I am fortunate to have had a relationship with a father who, in so many ways, reflected Christ. Not always, of course, but often.
This Saturday before Easter, I reflect on Christ and my relationship with Him. I reflect on the most profound moments. I reflect on times when I have desperately needed Him and He has been there, waiting. In the depths of my darkest days when He carried me. I reflect on the moments where I have seen Christ walk with others–homeless men I served, students struggling with life and school, a friend whose father committed suicide. I reflect on how He showed me compassion and love.
I also reflect on the times I turned away from Christ. I think about how many Good Fridays and Easter Sundays passed that I did not think once of Christ. And, how, during those years I stood alone. I think: If Christ had walked among us during those years of my life, I would not have grieved.
I feel grateful for a second chance. And, I reflect on my relationship with Christ today. I realize, if I am completely honest, that often I spend more time relying on myself than relying on Him. I look to Him, but not always.
I live two lives–my own and one for Christ. I look to Christ when I need Him or it is convenient. I try to live on dry land and at sea. In my brokenness, I take my eyes off of Him.
As I stumble along today, I look to Him. And I remember, I am given yet another chance because of His death and resurrection. Because of His faithfulness to the Father.