Have you ever been glancing through something and had something you’ve seen a dozen times; at least, catch your attention?
Today… it happened. I was scrolling through saved documents and there it was… “Finished Jagadgirigutta Well of Life”. I see this all the time while flipping between documents on my computer, but every time I see it I move quickly past it, to escape it’s meaning to me. This “Well of Life”, a gift of water for the people of Jagadgrigutta, South India, who did not have a constant water supply came because of the loss of someone so special to me; my dad.
The story goes something like this: My mom and my biological dad divorced when I was 12, my mom met Chris at some point before and during the divorce. Chris came into our lives and turned it upside down. All that we knew was different, some changes were great and others were just unexpected. I knew as he and my mom were dating that he didn’t “know” the Lord. When I say that I am not discounting that he as a child may not have had a relationship with God, but he wasn’t choosing to have one at that point. We asked him to go to a play with us at a local church, and I remember praying while we watched the play and He made a decision to change his heart right there. He committed his life to the Lord and he never turned back.
He was a hunter; an avid hunter, deer heads and bass on the walls kind of hunter. Multiple gun cabinets to protect us from a force we did not understand, or know was coming, lol! I was an animal lover, I wouldn’t even consider eating venison. I remember being tricked into eating venison barbecue, and being so devastated, because… it was so good. He was unique, always creating a joke. His statue was large and in charge, he was over 6’3″ and I considered him a beast. He used to terrify my boyfriends, which probably saved me more trouble than I needed. He was kind and generous, and there were days you actually did not know whether he was serious or joking.
As a 14 year old girl, you can imagine… if you are a girl you know… how your emotions could be just everywhere; but unlike so many, I had a huge teddy bear at home, who loved me beyond reason and would simply sit with me, in a large brown recliner and then a large green recliner until all my worries would fade away. I had a dad at home that could speak harshly when necessary, calmly when chaos reigned and lovingly through all things. I don’t believe I have mentioned that there were days I would have attacked him willingly for pushing me or a joke to far, days when I cried in frustration because we could not agree on something, and times when I was sure he and my brother were going to come to blows. In that time we spent with him, never once did I feel a moment of fear, never once did I believe he would leave us and never once, did I doubt his unending love for my mother. He was precious to me.
Over the years we grew very close, so when I essentially suckerpunched him at 19 by leaving home unexpectedly and living my life in a way that was displeasing to the Lord, he was very hurt. I intentionally lashed out at him at times and continued my life for many years in a spin-out of my former self. I was married without him there, and had 2 children that he doted upon. Although he didn’t approve of our marriage at first, he became supportive in all the ways he could be. Our relationship in many ways had to begin all over again, building trust and forgiving each other for words and deeds created in the heat of hurt and anger.
At 25 I had a beautiful little girl who was a little over 2 and a baby boy that was a little over 1, and they loved their “papa” (paw-paw). He was everything a grandfather should be, and he was that for children in no way biologically related to him. He was amazing; most days. We spent time redeveloping our relationship and had gotten much closer, although we both still maintained boundaries to “protect our hearts”. I knew he loved me, and I knew that I was the daughter he would have picked if God had ever granted him his own biological daughter. I was blessed indeed.
One super hot July day, the world would change for our family, my darling dad was cleaning the families fifth wheel camper-( you may tent camp if you so choose, we will enjoy a.c., and the comforts of home ;)) and when he was climbing down the ladder, he fell about 2 feet off of the ground. Unfortunately his incredibly strong wrist couldn’t handle the momentum of the fall and it broke. A family friend, heard him calling for help, and the rescue squad was called as he laid on the gravel. He complained of upper abdominal pain, but his wrist bone had broken the skin and that became a priority to prevent infection. He went into a surgery for his wrist and stayed over night. Throughout this stay, his pain intensified, but the cries of many loved ones noticing unusual behavior and other symptoms went unanswered. He was never a complainer, just a strong man who would put up with pain, so that no one would worry about him, and in front of us he slowly declined. He was 45, and we learned after an emergency surgery that his spleen had ruptured in the fall and was un-diagnosed, until it was too late to save him.
It was traumatic and a terrible loss of a Godly man. He is however, rejoicing with the angels. “I Can Only Imagine”, was a song performed at the funeral, and to this day it takes my breath away when I hear the opening chords. The beauty of this fallen world, is that there is a God in Heaven who sent a Savior named Jesus, His beloved son, to die a sinner’s death on the cross. A death, each of us no matter how “good” we may try to be, deserves. He was desperate for us to be with Him again, He is desperate for us to be with Him now, while still here on this Earth. To commemorate his beautiful life and time with us, my mom had a well and a church donated through Joyce Myers Ministries to India.
Each day is precious, anger and unforgiveness will become our master’s if we forget we are free. Be abundantly forgiving, be graciously merciful, and love beyond your earthly limitations.
True forgiveness is never being separated… by death, or life.
“So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” – Matthew 5:23-24