Lessons Learned From My Father’s Illness (Part 2)

Change is the one thing about life that’s certain.  You can either resist change, or you can learn and grow through it.  My parents have modeled the latter.  Here are a few more things I’ve learned from them in 2009:

Lesson #6:  “In sickness and in health.”
My parents are a team.  When they said “I do” over 50 years ago, they meant it.   Sure, like all marriages they’ve had their ups and downs.  But they won’t part until death, and they take that commitment very seriously.  The result?  They’re closer than ever.  Right now, my mother is my father’s nurse as well as his hands and feet.  She doesn’t complain, and she knows that if the tables were turned he would do the same for her.  She’s just thankful that God gave her the strength and stamina to do it.  (And she can run circles around just about anyone, including her grandchildren.)

Lesson #7:  Memories rock.
Our family memories are sacred.  Holidays.  Births.  Weddings.  Family gatherings.  Cookouts.  Family vacations.  More family vacations.  You guessed it, our most memorable times together are probably on family vacations.  So we love to talk about the trips together, tell stories, and pull out the old pictures and video tapes.  No one can take away the memories, and we wouldn’t trade them for anything. 

Lesson #8:  People are more important than things.
My parents are talking about selling the house they love – the house where they’ve raised 5 daughters, welcomed 14 grandchildren (and one great-grandchild) into the world, planted over 40 gardens, added porches, remodeled the kitchen, and hosted 4 generations of family.  It’s going to be hard, but at the end of the day, the four walls of a house mean nothing.  Stuff is overrated.   But for the people, the stuff is meaningless.

Lesson #9:  It’s ok to cry.
My dad is from a generation of men that don’t cry.  So he keeps apologizing for getting all emotional and mushy this past year.  I just want to tell him, “it’s ok to cry, Dad.”  His tears help comfort me.  They help me connect with him.  And they help teach me that no matter how tough you are, it’s ok to be human.  “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.”  (Psalm 30:5.)

Lesson #10:  Faith is the cornerstone.
No matter what the circumstances, our faith is constant.  My mother has modeled the kind of faith I can only hope to one day emulate (and yes, she’s even begun to rub off on my father).  So while we wait for more answers, pray for a breakthrough, and hope for the best, we know that our eternal destiny – the only thing that lasts forever– is secure in Christ.  (We know there are lots of golf courses in heaven, but don’t be surprised when you see my dad hit the links this summer.  God isn’t finished with him yet!)

Thanks Mom and Dad for teaching me some valuable lessons in 2009!  

Who do you need to thank for teaching you a few things in 2009?  You might want to let them know before the year ends!

I'm an author who writes about the working mom's struggle to live out an authentic Christian faith in a complex and fast-paced world. I live in constant need of grace, caffeine, and technology -- usually in that order.
  • Mary

    Happy New Year! One of my resolutions is to lesrn to blog. Thank you Susan.

  • Susan DiMickele

    Here's to 2010!