My Dad, Death and the reality of Semper Fi!
Devotional Thought of the day:
( Please note: The feelings expressed herein are mine, not a reflection or way in which others should mourn)
19 When David noticed them whispering to each other, he realized that the child had died. So he asked them, “Is the child dead?” “Yes, he is,” they answered. 20 David got up from the floor, took a bath, combed his hair, and changed his clothes. Then he went and worshiped in the house of the LORD. When he returned to the palace, he asked for food and ate it as soon as it was served. 21 “We don’t understand this,” his officials said to him. “While the child was alive, you wept for him and would not eat; but as soon as he died, you got up and ate!” 22 “Yes,” David answered, “I did fast and weep while he was still alive. I thought that the LORD might be merciful to me and not let the child die. 23 But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Could I bring the child back to life? I will some day go to where he is, but he can never come back to me.” 2 Samuel 12:19-23 (TEV)
I probably will not be able to stop the tears tht will come today, and tomorrow and even as I write this, as I grieve at my father’s apssing this morning at 12:02. I am not like David, save that I think that His words about worship resonate with me, and that is what we have in common. But ministry will happen – people will find out of God’s love and peace.
But there is something very comforting in David’s words above – that in fact helps me to grieve in a way that I can only find as I encounter God and His Faithfulness.
There is nothing I can do to bring my dad back to life, and the more I think about it, these words mean something. ” I will someday go to where he is….”
My dad was both proud of and yet very damaged by his military service. THe PTSD he buried and dealt with for years – and my mom as well, was the result of serving in battle in Korea. Of having the duty of tending to war-ravaged bodies. He was a Navy Corpsman, attached to a Marine Division on the front lines. He only shared with me a couple of hte nightmares – this from a man who shared most everything else in life that happened to him. Yet, there was a sense of pride regarding the USMC and the men he served with – there were the funny stories ( and some of them were… well not necessarily “clean”. My favorites had to do with his wearing a USMC uniform with Navy rank insignia – which got him salutes from many who outranked him. Yet there was always the motto Semper Fi. Marines were the best, the most faithful of the services, the men sent it to do what the US Army just coulnd’t. (“We’d take a hill, then get to stand downfor a week…. the Army taking our place… sort of… we’d come back and have to retake the damn hill again!)
Semper Fi – always faithful. always
This morning – my dad realizes in a way beyond stating the power of that phrase. He knows how God was faithful to Him… through the War, through the deaths, through the struggles of adopting and raising 3 kids – each one different. Of loving people immensely, yet being terrified to show them that love – the anxiety that subconsciously wracks so many veterans, and is so painful for spouses and kids to realize. Sixty years of marriage. Hurts and pain and pride and health issues and all sorts of crap. Yet know… he realizes God was faithful, God was there… God sustained Him and used His faith and his scars, as meager as he thought it was… to help people. He now more than ever realizes the faithfulness of God…. Of that I am fully confident.
Maybe it’s because I’ve walked this horrid road with others, and I know my dad. Maybe its because I’ve seen what peace God gives – even amid tears and heartache. I’ve seen the faces before Warren and CLyde and RIch and Dale and RIchard an – as we say “with angels and archangels and ALL THE COMPANY OF HEAVEN, even as I know I will see my dad’s face this Sunday… and King David’s words will echo in my mind….
“I will someday go to where he is” – with Him. our Lord.
For God is always faithful – even as He brings us peace in the midst of tears….even as minsitry happens during lament – for there, I am absolutely convinced comes some of the deepest worship….
I pray that your confidence in God is strengthened – as we see God’s hand in the midst of our lives, the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our eternity… in a place without tears.
Thanks if you made it through this mashed up bunch of thoughts…