June 14, I was at a picnic lunch with people from work. I got a call from my sister. My dad was having a hard time breathing. He wanted a ride to the doctor. She called the ambulance. She was right. He went to the hospital. A touch of pneumonia. Some other stuff.
I packed up and left for Illinois.
My heart was troubled. My mom can’t be alone. She and dad needed each other, though, to be truthful, they couldn’t do a lot for each other. I knew we were headed for some significant decisions about places to live and kinds of care. I had a lot running through my head.
I was listening to music, the music that usually helps. And then I found a talk by Donald Miller, one from a book tour a couple years ago. He talked about rewriting the story that our life is telling. I’ve listened before. I’ve read the book. But something clicked as I listened. I started thinking about my parents, about the journey I was making, about what I could do when I arrived.
I tweeted: “What if ‘honor your parents’ means for me ‘help them finish the story of their lives as well as they can.’?”
And then I started thinking about how to simply summarize the story that their lives have told.
I tweeted: “and his story is ‘i kept my word to take care of her’ and hers is ‘i kept my word to make people feel at home'”
It changed how I listened to my parents for the next few days. I was looking for the story they were telling with their lives.
But how does that relate to the title? Dad didn’t come out of the hospital. And for his eulogy, I simply told his story.
Thank you all for your comments and your encouragement and your prayer and your support. If you know me well, you will know that reading that eulogy at the funeral without dissolving in tears isn’t my usual style. God was gracious to me as a speaker that day. I have a couple more posts coming about my dad. Bear with me.