Sunday, July 22, 2012

How He Loved
My grandma tells me my dad got a shout out in one of Santa Maria’s larger churches last week. They still remember him? Three and a half years later? [Three and a half years. My heart stops thinking of that number. How can three and a half years have gone when I was sure life couldn’t move forward without my parents? But yes, my first baby just turned 4. She was 5 months and 6 months when they died. Life has been rich and full of blessing yet. The struggle is producing character and hope. God is merciful and good.]

I remember sitting in the office chair next to my dad one Saturday morning catching up on the news. Dad always had all the news. This week he was particularly troubled. “My friend is getting a divorce, Sami. He doesn’t get it. He doesn’t see that this can’t be the path to happiness since this isn’t the way God intended it.” His friend had come from several states away and my dad begged him with tears to reconsider. Even in the retelling my dad cried. My dad’s friend had laughed and said, “Mark, you care more about my problems than I do!” Yes, he did. He loved people so deeply, so selflessly. He was so convinced that the only way for people to be happy was to follow Jesus and he loved people enough to not be afraid to tell them that. His heart ached for his friends and for the people he arrested. In a pile of bills we find envelopes marked “prison generated mail”--letters from people he had arrested. People who knew he cared about them and how they were doing when he was one of the people responsible for putting them in jail. That’s how effective he was at conveying his love. It was that believable, that genuine. 

I’ve been thinking over this story lately and thinking how hard it is to love people like that. To really be able to put your heart out there to be broken for all the sadness and hurt in the world. To be able to love people enough that you tell them when you see them going down the wrong path. But your love is so evident that they are not offended, they are moved and softened. I pray God strengthens me to love like that. 

How is it I got to be the daughter of the greatest man I ever knew?