Ten years ago today.
I really don’t remember much about that day. I don’t remember if it was sunny or cloudy, windy or calm. I don’t remember if there was snow on the ground or even if it had been very cold. But I remember well the chill that permeated my being that December night ten years ago.
I grew up a daddy’s girl, no doubt about it. My daddy was a preacher, a barber, a race car driver, an author, and a paralegal. He was smart and he inspired me. He taught me about love, family, and fun. We traveled, camped, celebrated every holiday to the fullest, trusted each other, championed one another, and treated each other with value and honor. He taught me to search for, find, and stand for what I believed in, no matter what the cost. He showed me how to stand on my own feet yet lean on God, say I’m sorry and I love you, value relational success over financial success, and strive for excellence in all.
He had a passion for teaching his children that we find our firm foundation not in man or man’s teaching, but in the inerrant, unshakable Word of God, and that our worth is not found in what others think of us, but in the knowledge that we are worth the very blood of Christ.
He and I dated, held hands, and loved my mother. We debated religious, political, and personal issues. We laughed, cried, and were quiet together. He wasn’t perfect, but he was my hero, and I was sure that he knew everything. But ten years ago, December 14th, 2001, my hero crumbled. With the pull of a trigger he ended his own life.
I was twenty-three. My life changed forever and my heart would never be the same. They say time heals all wounds. It doesn’t. Time does ease the pain, though, and faith, hope and love can restore and make whole the broken.
As I began to put the shattered pieces of my life that he had touched so profoundly back together, I saw they would never fit as they did before. They would need to be placed somewhere else, somewhere called the past, tucked in my heart as memories. Every time I take them out, I see the jagged cracks where they were broken. I see that they don’t fit perfectly, like a puzzle that was put together with the wrong pieces.
Many things, though, remain just as they were. My dad instilled in me what mattered. I stand on my own feet yet lean on God, say I’m sorry and I love you, value relationships and strive for excellence. My value did not diminish when I realized that, to him, I was not worth living for, because I am worth the life of the Son of God. I searched for and found what I believed in, and my foundation was not found in man, not even my first man, my hero.
The ten years since my father died have been good, even great. I have faced head-on the heartbreak, the dissolution of an irreplaceable relationship, and the loss of my childhood mentor and pastor. I am still facing things: the loss of my daughter’s grandfather, some holes that can never be filled, and, at times, feelings that threaten the delicate adhesive that holds those once-shattered pieces together.
An unknown author wrote, “Sometimes on the Rock I tremble, but the steadfast Rock of ages never trembles under me.” I do tremble at times, but I know Whom I have believed, and my foundation is firm.
“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”
How Firm A Foundation v3 by John Keith, 1787