Saturday, February 5, 2011
For my Father's glory...
My dad is an author ... and no, I didn't mean "Steven", grandma liked to be different and spelled it with an "a". My father is wise, well-educated, and just plain smart. I remember as a child I would watch him pull out a dictionary when we didn't know the meaning of a word, and he'd make us "look it up!" He'd caress the pages as if they held some magic, and then tell us how as a child he'd spend hours perusing its pages for new, insightful words and their meanings - just for fun. I didn't share this "fun" passion as a fourth grader, but I began to find him inspiring around the 6th grade. Everything he'd say, any notes he'd write to us, were words filled with mystery, grace, and wonder... they were inspiring.
Two of his books are filled with just poems. Yes, he's a poet, sought out by a publishing company for his participation of an on-line poetry site. Daunting, you'd say. A little, but still inspirational. Through the years, I would write and write and know that I'd not quite meet the bar set before me by my dad, and I'd share but little. Yet, he's always so gracious with me. You know, you'd think that people who wield a pen with such grace, poise, and ease would rarely be moved by the writings of others, but it's not so. At least not with him. He's always encouraging others to write their stories, and self-publish as he has learned to do. He is strong and loving, gracious and kind, a fortress of mind-boggling knowledge and even more baffling propriety. He was my tower.
But dad had a secret. For years, only the closest to him knew of his ailment. Dad is epileptic. My eyes fill with tears as I type with fear that it still might not be okay to share. But it is. My last post in poetic form, as I find only fitting when writing about dad, described how my tower had fallen. From the six-foot-one tower of strength to a frenzied, shaking seizure, my dad became so ill when I was in high-school that I thought I was watching him die. Thank God he had other plans. But for so many years, though I knew dad took his pills three or four times a day, he was still superman to me. Rarely confronting his illness except on occasion of fever or extreme fatigue, it's as if he was "normal".
Maybe God allowed him to fall on his head so severely as a young child to induce epilepsy because he knew the world could not yet handle a mind so developed, that he needed a little imperfection to bring this wonder back down to a level the common man could tend with. Maybe the fall opened up the vast portions of the mind that would have remained untouched but for the jolting. I do not know. But what I do know is that the genius that lies within came at a price.
I have often pondered the "what ifs" of my life. I prayed as a teen that God would take away my dad's disease. That he wouldn't deprive the world of what my dad had to offer, and that he'd take me instead, if that price was something I could pay. But it wasn't. I don't know God's motives, but what I have come to learn is that each of us has an ailment. It might not be a crippling one that we can only hope to conceal, but there's an element in each of our lives that through it, only God can get the glory.
I don't know if I'd have learned that lesson so clearly had I not watched my dad go from the most "put-together" guy to the helpless epileptic for the most haunting 90 seconds of fear one must endure when a seizure strikes.
The strength my mother has is of epic proportions. Watching her calmly stroke his head, get him water, lead him to rest until he's himself again must be so wearisome. And I know that it is. But she is his, and he is hers. It's almost mystifying to watch. As if there's no weight that comes along with this burden, just grace. And she smiles. More concerned for us whom she'd rather shield from emotional stress than for herself whom she's long neglected.
And I can't help but pray again. Run to my Father and ask another "why" and beg that it just be removed. Removed for dad's sake. Removed for mom's. A prayer that I have found in my own solace, thousands of miles away, begging for God to take my own "ailment" as well. Not physically incapacitating, but emotional - spiritual. And he teaches me again. That all is wrapped up in one thing.
What a thought! Each person is created and molded for his glory! And the thought that strikes me the most is the fact that my journey is not contingent on anyone else's. It is your life for his glory. It is my life for his glory. And this journey has taken me far and wide. Though I sometimes ask the "whys" of my life, of this faraway adventure I am on, I can only come back to one thing - his glory.
It's so cliché, we hear it all the time. But do we believe it? Do I? Sometimes it's hard to when you are 5,000 miles from home and you hear that dad's epilepsy is worse, and he's in the hospital. Do I see glory? Do I look for it? When I beg God to show me the purpose of the passing storm in this ministry, do I see glory? Do I look for it? Truly?
I can't always answer that one with a resounding "yes". But I want to.
I know I've gone on longer than usual today with my ramblings, but I'm starting to see just a glimmer of purpose in the metamorphosis I've experienced over the last four or five years. That it might just be for his glory, nothing else. So, this is a part of my story. A part of me.
For his glory.