Me: Hey, Dad! Whatcha doin’ ?
Dad: Just talking to you on the phone.
Me: Seems like you were doing that the last time I called, too.
This was the way 90% of the phone calls I made to my dad began. It was our ritual and it played out often because I called my dad a lot.
I guess we must have averaged four or five phone calls a week, most of which lasted a good half-hour. Perhaps you are wondering why I called home so much. Well, it wasn’t because I had so much important information to share with my father. Really, my life as a stay-at-home mom to five kids and two fosters isn’t that exciting. It’s really only rather mundane sort of stuff that goes on around here. (Obviously, if you read my blog often, you realize this is why I call it Tales From the Laundry Room. My life truly does revolved around a bunch of dirty laundry and hungry kids.)
Really, I just called home because I wanted to keep in touch with my parents … to find out what was going on with them and to chat about things going on in my home.
Regardless of the fact that I rarely had important or exciting news to share, my dad always had time to stop and listen. In fact, he seemed quite interested in hearing me ramble on about how my two teen boys eat me out of house and home, the ins and outs of trying to make my youngest memorize her multiplication tables, or how some days I feel like a taxi driver as I run my horde of kids hither, there and yon.
Sometimes Dad gave me advice. Other times he just empathized. But each and every time I talked to my father, I felt heard, understood, and encouraged.
I never felt like a bother. I never felt like a distraction or disturbance. It actually seemed as if he had nothing better to do than listen to me. In my heart, I know my Daddy enjoyed talking to me as much as I enjoyed talking to him.
And I miss it. I miss the crazy way we started off those chats. I miss knowing someone had the time to sit and listen. I miss hearing his rich laugh when I related some funny kid story or his gentle wisdom when I told about a small trial I faced in parenting.
Today marked a week since his passing, and all day long I’ve been trying to write this blog post. Of course, managing the activities of seven kids has kept me far from my computer much of the day, but when I did sit down at several points to write, I didn’t even know how to begin to say all that I feel or have felt in the past week. Such as:
~I’m proud to have been Malcolm Terry’s daughter. I couldn’t have asked for a better father. I’m grateful for the knowledge that he lives on eternally with God and for the hope of heaven during times like this.
~I’m overwhelmed at the outpouring of love from people in my hometown. Harrisonburg is a wonderful small community with a giant heart. I’m glad it’s where my dad chose to raise his family.
~I’m sad because my dad isn’t here on earth anymore and I’ll never hear his voice or laugh again. My children, all of them, have lost the only grandfather who was actively involved in their lives … and because my grandfather still lives, I feel a very deep sorrow knowing that they have lost this precious relationship at such young ages.
~I feel a little lost because for the first time in my life I have only one parent. Recently, someone shared with me that a parent is a lot like a life-line. When death cuts the tether, we feel as if we are drifting aimlessly. And yet, God is our anchor. He is our rock. In Him, life is stable and sure and safe … even when the winds around us howl and the waves pound against us.
Somewhere in the middle of thinking about all those phone calls I made to my father over the years, and how I knew my Dad really did love those as much as me and wanted me to call to check in as often as I could, it came to me. You see, God’s like that too.
God loves it when I check in with Him often throughout the day, just to talk about the big or little or relatively mundane parts of my life. He loves to listen, and always has time for me. Even a world crisis doesn’t keep Him from bending His ear my direction, or offering comforting words or providing me with wisdom, insight and gentle direction. Spending time praying to God isn’t a waste of my time any more than my frequent phone calls to my dad were a waste of time. In fact, I’m better off the more time I spend connecting with God!
I’m finding comfort tonight in remembering that while I may not be able to talk to my earthly father again on this side of heaven, my Heavenly Father is still available at any time, day or night … and that’s more than I can say for my dad.
He wasn’t at all fond of phone calls after bedtime.
Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. ~1 Chronicles 16:11