Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Advent 2014

Tuesday, December 2

 

I don't know what it's like to raise a child.  I've never had that joy.  But recently I've experienced something on the other end of the spectrum - caring for an aging parent.  My father is suffering from Pick's Disease, a degenerative brain disorder.  Although my parents moved into a retirement community a year and a half ago, caring for my father has taken its toll on my mother, so we three kids have been pitching in whenever we can.  A few times in the last year I've driven up to North Carolina to stay with Daddy when Mother has had to go out of town to attend conferences.  Although it has been hard to watch my dad decline, I've also found these to be special, uplifting experiences.


When I was home in August, Daddy was feeling restless one day, so I kept us busy running errands.  Everywhere we went, I felt warmth exuding from people.  It started with a man at the car wash as I was helping Daddy out of the car.  He kept stressing for us to take our time and told Daddy it would be impossible to mistake me for anyone but his son because I favor him so much.  He told me how nice it was of me to get Daddy out and about.  He said we'd made his day and assured me he'd "take special care" of the car.  People at the hardware store and the mall smiled as I held Daddy by the hand to help him across the parking lots.  Pedestrians slowed to block traffic as we passed.  One lady sat waiting in her truck in the parking space beside us while I helped Daddy into the car.  She rolled down her window and speaking honestly, told me, "I hope my children will do this for me one day." 


People's reactions gave me a very warm feeling but puzzled me at the same time.  I think that's because all my life, through their own example, my parents taught me the importance of showing up - visiting someone in a nursing home or in the hospital, taking food to a friend who has had a death in the family, calling someone who doesn't get out of the house much anymore, or changing the lady's flat tire at the shopping center.  That day in August I didn't feel like I was doing anything particularly special.  If people were surprised and touched just by seeing me spend the day with my father, how must people have felt the day God showed up to save the world?

 

- Chris Hendricks

 

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