Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, January 13, 2008


A man died this week. There is nothing remarkable about that statement, men die and are buried regularly. There was really nothing marked by noteriety or significance about the life that was lived, the jobs that were held, the holidays that were taken, the family that was raised, or the legacy that was left.

There was a small, simple funeral and internment attended by, the small immediate family, a few of the extended family group consisting of a couple of the nephews, a brother, some in-laws and a few family friends. There was not much the family could say in terms of the significance of the man's life, the impact his life had on his community, the value that could be placed on the time he gave to his family and friends, there was no credit given for achievement, success, initiative, entrepenurial spirit or a life lived in fullness and appreciation of the greater and more noble pursuits of life. There were none of those to be spoken of... in that there was little sadness felt, remorse is a foreign feeling, being that nothing was ventured therefore nothing was lost; even regret is an alien emotion, the decisions made in the life lived were not those of the attendants of the funeral. There was no regret, the time for that emotion had come and passed with death, there is no regret for what was withheld by the one with the power to give. Regret expended for the loss of opportunity is now wasted effort,being the sole possession of the deceased, no chance to verbalize or change is available.

There were no statements made to the son like; 'your Dad was a good man'; 'if your half the man your father was, you'll be one hell'of'a'man'; 'I'll miss your Dad, he was a good friend'; 'your Dad will be sorely missed'; 'it will be tough for you now that your Dad is gone'; 'you've got big shoes to fill';...

There is danger lurking in the shadows of those statements not made and in the subsequent thoughts and feelings of that son that are associated with his relationship to his father. There is opportunity for the essence of those emotional experiences to be worn like a badge of passage, to become a shield, an excuse, a facade, to take the place of the emotional response normally awarded such events. There is a kind of pain yet possible to be manifested, a pain of questionable origin and undetermined destination, unexplainable, lingering and illusive, and yet maybe never having to be experienced. There should be a sense of loss, not misplaced pride at a lack of emotion; there should be a cry for lost circumstances, not relief that forgiveness was never discussed; there should have been remorse for the failed relationship, not an easing of the spirit from accountability and responsibility; there should have been a release from a burden, a removal of shackles, a freedom from the tyranny, not just the chance for advancement and progress by attrition rather than with permision. There should have been a bedside conversation, perhaps a conveyance of some sort, a word, a spoken thought, not just an open casket, and yet that may have been the best, it is indicative of an empty life and unfulfilled promise and provides the answer to the question raised as to why so little emotion is invested? because facing the reality of life and the consequences of decisions made is sometimes best not faced, no confrontation, no resolution, no reconciliation, just nothing at all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

John, thanks for baring your heart and soul. We grieve with you as you grieve not over the death of a father as such, but rather the loss of the opportunity of having the father that you longed for. As you grow to understand God as Your Father, and in turn try to be the father and husband to your kids and wife, I pray for the Father's love and grace to especially wrap and cover you completely, and give you peace and healing. He has much in store for you. Jill