Tuesday, April 08, 2014

when winter came.

(Photo from our back yard one rare day 
when the sun broke through)

It's been a winter for the record books where we live.  Snow upon snow upon snow that we push into piles and create pathways to go where we gots to git.   (sorry for the poor grammar- but I'm not a professional writer, so I can get away with it!)   We deal with winter's blow and look forward to brighter days when the sea of white will dissipate,  because we know it will.  As long as the earth endures, seasons change.  It's a promise.    

As we wait for the literal winter to secede there is a figurative winter that our family is waiting through.
May I share a little more about it?

First though,  a little background from my childhood...

When we heard the back door open,  we'd come running.

Barbie dolls,  Legos, dress up clothes all left in the dust when we realized our Daddy was home from work!  

It was like an amusement park ride how he could lift up all three of us at once and tote us around.  Did he have super human strength?  I'm sure I thought he did.  I was wee and he was mighty!

Day to day experiences like that among many others throughout my childhood sealed for me the impression that my Dad was amazing, invincible and unlike no other.    I am grateful for this.

Our Dad's mild stroke just after the new year took us all by surprise.  Over the last months many have expressed to me how Dad is so healthy, strong & fit and didn't seem likely for such a health crisis.   Initially,  I shared those sentiments as facts because as far as a 61 year old goes,  he is active,  full of vim and vigor.  Not living a sedentary lifestyle and responsibly monitoring his health status,  I always assumed from a medical standpoint Dad was better than the average.  As his doctor could attest,  that was a fair assumption.

But what was really happening for me was something less factual and more emotional.  (I know, imagine that?)  It didn't matter to me that he didn't fit the typical risk factors for stroke or not--yet suffered one anyway.   In my heart he wasn't supposed to have a stroke because he was the Super Human father that lifted me up both physically as a child and in every other way since childhood.  

(Photo courtesy of Footstock Barefoot Tournament) 

It was the first time I would come to the awareness that our Dad is in fact,  super! Yet also... human.  

I know,  rather a late realization.   But an important one.    Although an uneasy understanding for me that my Dad wasn't invincible after all,  I began to see Dad as God's child!   In unique and powerful ways our Heavenly Father carries His children through seasons of winter in our lives.   As the weeks went by this was very true for Dad.   You see,  a super hero wouldn't admit weakness or see the need for help.    In Dad's humble humanity he worked hard at regaining strength.  He wasn't too manly or macho to take a break from work,  or even driving for that matter.    I smiled often in the dead of this very long winter as Mom escorted Dad everywhere for awhile. They really are two peas in a pod.   I'm inspired by and have learned so much from them through this experience.

As our Heavenly father strengthened Dad's health and resolve following the stroke,   He also strengthens my heart against worry and fear.   We experienced again the gifts bestowed though community,  His Word,  hugs,  prayer,  & conversations.   God blesses, even through hardship and unresolved outcomes.  He doesn't let us go!   In His strength we are lifted and carried around when we run to him.   I like to picture it in much the same way my Daddy lifted me as a youngster.

Dad's prognosis is good, yet still-- we  wait.   For winter to melt away and for the possibility of Dad's vision to return full and clear...  for spring to arrive.   

But,  we wait with hope,  we hope with faith.  We are always held,  no matter what.   No human,  not even the biggest, strongest, wealthiest, hero you know can offer this kind of assurance when the winter comes.    
Only The Lord Almighty, 
as we humble ourselves before Him.

Run to Him! 

Song of Songs 2:11-13

New International Version (NIV)
11 See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit;
    the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
    my beautiful one, come with me.”