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The past won’t matter when we reach home, sweet home

The past won’t matter when we reach home, sweet home

Posted: Friday, April 8, 2011 8:03 pm
By: By Chris Menees

The past won’t matter when we reach home, sweet home | Just A Thought, Chris Menees

My dad finally got me to Virginia.
It had been his earthly home for the last 23 years.
Saturday, he went to his new heavenly home to be with the Lord. It was his funeral Tuesday that took me and my husband to Virginia.
In some ways, I felt like I had already lost my dad 23 years ago when my parents moved to Virginia. And I’m sure there were lots of times when he thought the same thing about me.
We were physically separated by a distance of 800 miles, but we were also separated on quite a few occasions by differences of opinion.
Being human, it would be easy to dwell on the bad things. However, I’d rather remember the happier times.
My dad loved a good laugh and I like to think I got some of his sense of humor. He was born June 1 and, because his name was Bill, he always joked that he arrived on the first of the month with the rest of the bills.
My parents eloped and married at a very young age and my mother’s parents thought they’d never last. My mom and dad had their share of tough times as young parents raising three small children, one of whom died five days short of his first birthday. But while other family members divorced, my parents’ love endured nearly 47 years. And my dad never hesitated to point this out to his incredulous in-laws.
One of my earliest memories of my dad was when he pulled me from the Mississippi River near our home in southern Illinois when I was about 5 years old and decided I could swim the swift murky waters on my own. I was terribly wrong. I have this vague memory of the sand sucking me under and then something grabbing me. My dad lost his wallet that day in the mighty Mississippi and, as the story has been recounted over the years, it’s often been asked if perhaps he should have tossed me back and gone after the wallet instead.
My dad had a massive heart attack not long after he and my mother moved to Virginia. I remember landing at an airport an hour from their home on a cold night Oct. 31, 1988, and making a hurried drive in the pouring rain to the hospital. For years afterward, half joking but mostly serious, my dad always said he guessed he’d have to have another heart attack to get me there again.
Since my parents moved so far away, I usually saw them about once a year, ordinarily as they were passing through the area on their way home from visiting other family to the north.
However, I believe God worked it out where I actually saw my parents twice within the last six months alone. Ironically, the last time I saw my dad was when he spoke at a family funeral near St. Louis in January. He was sharing scripture to comfort my mother’s brother on the death of his wife. We never dreamed it would be his own funeral that would reunite us all just three months later.
My dad and I were never very open toward one another with displays of affection and even though the words were rarely spoken between us, I loved him and I believe he loved me.
He gave me a letter on my wedding day 20 years ago, explaining that it was easier to express himself in written form rather than verbally. I re-read the lengthy letter in the hours after his death and it broke my heart when he admitted how he regretted the times he lost his temper and how he wished he’d spent more time with me.
Through the years, there was just so much we didn’t know or understand about one another.
But the next time I see him, when we’re reunited in his new home, none of those things will matter.
As a reminder, I need look no further than Revelation 21:4 — one of the closing scriptures the preacher shared at my dad’s funeral Tuesday afternoon.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
Home, sweet home.
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Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 4.8.11

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