This is my Dad.
I realize I’ve been a little vague about Dad, and all that he’s been going through.
I’ve written things like: “Dad continues to work through some major health problems.” “These are tough times right now.” “Please pray.”
And pray, you have. We are grateful.
It’s time to fill you in. Dad had surgery to remove an infection in his leg several weeks ago at Mayo Clinic. At that time, we found out that Dad may need an amputation. We hoped it wouldn’t come to that, … but it has to come to that.
On Thursday, Dad will have his lower leg amputated at Mayo Clinic.
Here are some things God is teaching us through all of this:
1 – WE CAN’T FACE ADVERSITY ALONE.
On Sunday morning, Dad stood up in our little country church, and through tears, thanked all the people who have prayed and stood with us — even when Dad could barely stand.
As Dad spoke, I thought about those verses that say, “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” All of us need three-stranded cords: us, friends, and Jesus. That cord grew even stronger on Sunday morning.
A friend, sitting in the pew behind us, rose up, and “interrupted” the service. “Let’s pray for Phil right now.” And that’s what the whole church did. They came over to our pew, laid hands on my dad. And they prayed.
No one should face adversity alone. We are always better together.
2 – OUR ADVERSITY SERVES A GREATER PURPOSE.
About six weeks ago, Dad ended up in a nursing home. We were all heartbroken for him. AND HE WAS HEARTBROKEN! But you know what? Last week, when Dad was released from the home, he was actually a little bit sad! I mean, there were actual tears. Here’s why. Mom and Dad had met some really fine folks at the nursing home. They made friends. They laughed a lot. They hosted actual parties in the gathering room! They shared their faith with others. They found purpose in the midst of adversity.
Adversity can steal your health. But it can’t steal your purpose!
3 – OUR HAPPINESS CAN SAVE US.
One of the things I have learned from my Dad through all of this … is how to find the happy in the hard. Dad has maintained a terrific sense of humor. (“Some people get cold feet,” he joked. “I will get cold foot!”)
A few weeks ago, I started #TheHappinessDare. Let me tell you what: Dad is daring to be happy. He shows us what it looks like to fight back against all the negativity. He finds humor inside hospitals. He cracks jokes with the doctors. He hugs us and tells us how much he loves us.
4 – IT’S OKAY TO CRY.
True happiness makes space for tears. We have learned not to be alarmed by our wide-swinging emotions. We cry together — in church pews, around nursing home dinner tables, over coffee in the morning. That’s a part of what makes Dad’s happiness so real and durable — his willingness to embrace the breadth of emotions that swirl inside of him.
Well, I realize this is a rather long way around to a prayer request. But I had a lot to say — a lot that has been unsaid so far. But Mom and Dad said it would be good to tell you. So that’s what I’m doing (see Point Number One above). We would be so grateful for your prayers.
In honor of my Dad, as a part of #TheHappinessDare this week, I pledge to look for God’s hand on the hardest days. I pledge to make space for my tears. I choose to believe that there is greater purpose in whatever adversity our family faces. And I refuse to face adversity alone.
Thanks for being with us on this journey.