Twenty years ago my dad took our family to Quartz Mt State Park to go camping. This wasn’t out of the norm. We frequented that location. In fact my mother made a patch to put on our camping tent that said “home away from home”, and that it was. Our family took great comfort in getting away from our routine and spending time together out in nature.
My dad woke me up early one morning and said the words I was longing to hear, “Let’s Go!”
I sprung into action. He took me climbing and hiking all over the mountains. We climbed to the top of the first mountain, then the next and the next. by the time we made it down we had to hike 4 miles back to the car. We spent the entire day hiking together, father and son. We went up this hill, over that boulder, through this cave, down this slope… I never worried about getting back to camp. I had my dad, my compass.
When I was a teenager and working with him trimming apartment complexes and I messed something up or had a problem I couldn’t figure out. It wasn’t a big deal. I had my dad to help me. When I played football and I struggled with my technique, my dad helped me. When my car broke down on the side of the road when I was driving to college, Dad rescued me. When Meagan and I married he wrote us a note reminding us that my parents and Meagan’s parents were here for us to ask advice, but decisions were to be between my wife and I. He wrote the words, “I’ll always be here when you need me.” Boy, did I abuse that 🙂
When we purchased our first house he was there to inspect it to give his opinion. He helped me replace the roof, redo some flooring, fix plumbing issues, and yes, fix my car again. When we had children he was there… I took such comfort in those words from him, “I will always be here.” I didn’t fear job changes, moves, raising teenagers, etc… I had my dad to talk to.
Four weeks ago today, I lost my compass. At least, that is initially the way I viewed it. I felt like myself 20 years ago hiking in the mountains only this time, I have no idea how to get back to camp and this time, I can’t ask dad to tell me how. Each day I long to wake up from this terrible nightmare. Only to be reminded that I am not asleep.
What I am being reminded of each day is the fact that my compass is not broken. Its not even lost. My father’s direction that he gave me was continually pointing me to the Word of God. I still have God’s Word. I still have my compass. (Psalm 119:105).
Every single day, I cry. Every single day, I hurt. Every single day I love my family more, I sing praises to my God, I rest in the knowledge that my dad is not hurting, I long to be with The Lord and my dad.
This journey is long and dark. I know that even though I am walking through this valley of death, my God is with me (Psalm 23). I think the same thoughts that King David expressed after losing his son in 2 Samuel 12. I cannot bring him back, I will go to him.
“O, Father. Help me in my weakness. Comfort me in my pain and in my fear. Lead me beside your still waters and restore my soul. I love you for who you are and for what you have done. Strengthen my resolve to live for you. Help me to honor you as my dad honored you. Thank you for my father. Thank you for taking his pain. in Jesus name, amen.”