A full year has just about gone by without seeing your smile light up the room. I still don’t know how I will make it through many more years. They say it gets easier, and in some ways it does, perhaps, but I still miss you like crazy. There are still days when anxiety and depression seem to get the better of me, and I just wish I could hear you give me some words of encouragement. In the darkest of times, you’ve always pushed me to trust in the sovereignty of a God who watches over us. You never passed up an opportunity to remind me how much Jesus loves me.
Yesterday was another birthday without you. My 26th came just 6 days after your passing. Now, I’m 27. This one was a bit better. The shock and complete numbness wasn’t there as it was last year. I can’t even remember if there were any gifts or sweet treats last year, and obviously I wouldn’t have cared either way, but this year, we had apple pie! Yum! And as a gift, which was a complete surprise, and totally not something I found online and watched Nana order it for me, was a book of devotional prayer by Beth Moore, a talented author and proclaimer of the gospel whose words and preaching has provided a source of comfort to me this past year.
And of course, there was football! Texas crushed Colorado the day before, which I know you would have excitedly jumped up and high-fived me repeatedly had you been here to see it. And since we typically cheer for Oklahoma in their bowl games, guess what? They also crushed it! Baylor didn’t make it to a bowl game this year, but we still have the Aggies to cheer on. I wish I could somehow watch these games with you, but I know you are in a much better place. I cannot begin to fathom the sights in Heaven you are seeing. So, I’ll wait, knowing that one day, you and I will be reunited in Glory in the presence of Christ Jesus.
Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t have to wait. Plenty of times, I’m not quite good at it. Especially when I want to turn in a busy intersection. And yet, I’m slowly learning to wait. In this season of Advent, as we have waited to celebrate the birth of Christ, and as we continue to wait for his second coming, I’m also learning to patiently wait until I can see your smile once again. And if I’ve learned anything from you over the years, I know that as I wait, I must encourage others and be a light in the darkness.
I am reminded of the passage in the Gospel of Matthew that tells us to keep watch and to wait. We are encouraged to “keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42 NRSV). As I wait for Christ to come again, as I wait for the day when I will see you again, I am reminded by Matthew’s words to keep a spiritual awareness. For me, this means being there and uplifting others as you taught me to do. It means striving to amplify the voices of those not being listened to or cared for by others. It means shining the light of Jesus Christ so that others may know the love God has for all of us.
Oh, Dad, I miss you more than words can say. This year has been far from easy, and I know that like many, I’m ready for 2020 to be in the rearview mirror. Although I have made it through this roller coaster year without you, I know you are with me in spirit. As I wait for the glorious day when I will see that awesome smile of yours again, I will press on and be encouraged by your example. Oh, and Dad, just to drop a reference to Avengers: Endgame, the last movie we ever watched together, as I did at your funeral nearly a year ago, I will end by saying this. Dad, I still love you 3000!