"Then I saw your dad, and I knew it was going to be okay."
I was listening to my friend share her story of unexpectedly encountering my parents on a very difficult day, as she and her husband prepared to board a flight back to the States for the funeral of her father-in-law. She told me that just seeing my dad gave her a sense of peace. "He's such a big guy, you know, and then he wraps you in a hug and everything is better. And his puppy dog eyes! They just make me melt."
I smiled as I listened and reflected on how much I love hearing these memories about my dad. Later when I was alone, I cried happy-sad tears because I love and miss him so much and am so thankful for the gift God gave me in both of my parents.
My friend's story isn't the first I have heard along a similar vein. While on furlough, a woman in my mom's Bible study shared about attending the funeral of an unsaved family member. She and her husband, being the only Christians, felt very much alone. "Your dad was having back troubles and couldn't drive. But he still came! He laid down as best he could in the back seat, and your mom drove all the way. As soon as they arrived at the funeral, we felt like we could finally breathe. Your parents are so special!"
I have a lifelong friend whose own father died when she was young. One day foolish boys at our school played a prank that turned painful when it involved pictures of her father. My dad was then the school administrator and rose up in righteous anger in her defense, enacting stern and appropriate consequences for the perpetrators. "Your dad will ALWAYS be my hero!" she tells me to this day.
One of my former teachers, now also a lifelong friend, echoes those words. She came to our school fresh out of college and my dad gave her not only a chance, but encouragement and wise advice on teaching and life. After her own dad died, she leaned on mine for comfort and counsel. She also loved and looked up to my mom. I love hearing her memories of them.
The song "Find Us Faithful" speaks of uncovering the memories of our parents' lives. How thankful I am to uncover these when I least expect it, such as yesterday's conversation with my friend. And sometimes those memories are too good not to be shared. Love you, Mom and Dad!