My sister recently gave me a copy of a letter that our father wrote to one of our nephews, his grandson, in 1980. One portion revealed much to me about daddy the person:
“I was very sorry to know you have had some problems. I am well aware of the traumatic experiences you have had in developing years, and it is not always easy to rationalize. I have shared some of these tragedies with you and I know there is no logical explanation. I have found a great solace in treating these things as a test of faith and character. I truly believe this short period on earth is just an episode, and that all things will be made new again. I know you have the inherent qualities to put the past in limbo and constantly aspire to the many opportunities which come with each succeeding day.”
Daddy’s words were endearing to me. I couldn’t help but smile when I read them. I could envision him sitting at his desk, glasses halfway down his nose and pipe with cherry tobacco sitting close by. I appreciated how articulate the letter was, as well as caring, compassionate and encouraging. Most of all I loved having a small glimpse into his faith. (Daddy was not of the generation that spoke much about things that was personal to him). He would pass away 18-months later.
Here I am, less than ten years younger than he was when he died. I, too, now see our ‘short’ time here as an ‘episode.’ I don’t feel anxious about it, though. I feel excited when I think of seeing him again. I know the brevity of this life will then be apparent juxtaposed to the eternity we will then share together. Daddy was not wealthy but he left us a legacy far more valuable than any material possessions he could have passed on. “For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.” Psalm 71:5