Seven years ago today, my Dad went home. Not back to Illinois where he was born, or to Conway, Arkansas, where he grew up, but to Heaven, his true home. Recently, while talking to my husband about Dad, I said, “You know, I know someone who has actually seen Jesus’ face!” We both pondered that a moment. That’s much better than knowing someone who knows President Bush or some Hollywood movie star! I don’t hope he’s in Heaven, or think he’s in Heaven, I know it. I know it because I saw Jesus in him every day of my life. I’ve known many Christians who have died, but I didn’t know any of them as well as I knew that man. He lived the Bible. He admitted making mistakes. His prayers were genuine and heartfelt, never faltering or showy. I’ve also met many preachers in my life, and none of them, with all their Bible knowledge, have impressed upon me the truths of God’s Word the way my Dad did. Not one.
I’ve heard folks say that it gets easier as time goes by after the death of a loved one. To some degree, I guess it does. Obviously, my life developed a new rhythm. Some things I’ll never get used to, like never having Christmas at home with my parents, or the big blank side of my birthday card where Dad used to write loving words to me. Things like “I’m so proud of how you serve the Lord. God has given you so many talents, please use them for Him.” (Yes, like all good fathers, he, too, was biased.) It was good to know that I was making my Dad proud that I bore the name “Courtney”. It’s so very nice to know your parents aren’t ashamed of you.
Other things I have gotten used to. I’m used to going home and not seeing him. I don’t even expect it anymore, like I did at first. And I don’t think to myself, I should call Dad about this. like I did in the beginning, just to realize suddenly that I can’t call Dad. I don’t expect him to show up at my church, and I don’t expect to see him at his.
But, sometimes, as I walk home from church on a summer night, the tree frogs croaking in chorus, the soft wind rustling the trees above, the stars gazing down upon me, I miss him. The ache within my soul is hard to describe. Sometimes, as I watch our birds feeding outside, I suddenly think of how he loved birds and I miss him terribly. We recently sang the song “There Is Power in the Blood” on a Sunday night. I remembered how he’d sing the chorus a bit differently than most. The chorus begins, “There is pow’r, pow’r, wondering working pow’r…” But Dad sang “There is pow’r, pow’r, pow’r, pow’r, wonder working power…” He added in two extra “pow’r’s”, back to back, and he sang it with gusto! As I sang it in church last Sunday, I added in the extra pow’r’s, in his memory. And I missed him.
I’m thankful for God’s sustaining grace during the ups and downs of the last 7 years. My life changed forever on this date in 2004. I will never be the same. Yes, God’s grace is sufficient, but grace doesn’t remove the sorrow. It enables you to function in spite of it.
I counted up that Dad’s been in Heaven for 7 years. That’s 84 months, 364 weeks, 2,555 days. I don’t know how many years, months, weeks or days until Christ returns, but I’m watching for it! I’m looking forward to the day when He calls me (or all saints) home. On that day I’ll get to meet my Savior face to face, just like my Dad.
|In Memory of Ron E. Courtney|