Today nine years ago my Dad died from a massive coronary. I was reminded of this fact as I talked to my Mom yesterday. I remember the phone call like it was yesterday. "John your Dad is having problems breathing, and he wanted you to pray for him." My Mom finally told me after the prayer that she would have to call the paramedics, because Dad had lost consciousness. I told my Mom to call me and let me know how Dad was doing. The call came at 10 am, and it was my sister, what came next I was not prepared to hear.
"John" said Lorrie, "Dad didn't make it." I only remember dropping my head down on my desk at the Hermiston Assembly of God in my office, and crying like I never had before. What was the reason you ask for my reaction? I think there are many reasons, but the one that keeps coming up is this. I wanted my Dad to be proud of me. I had only just begun to be successful in my calling in the local church, he had to wait a little longer until I could show him that I was achieving my career goals. He couldn't die now, his grandson wasn't born yet who was named after him; Jon Lawrence Harper. No, this was not the way it was going to be; he had to be there for me when I needed him. Sadly the reality began to sink in, my Dad was dead and he would not see his grandson. As we planned for the funeral, I began to weep uncontrollably at times. How could he leave me when I needed him? The day came for his funeral, and it was time to say goodbye. How do you say goodbye to someone you just got to know? My relationship with my Father was strained at best, but we were doing better; he wasn't so harsh. He had become more loving. Yes it was time to say goodbye to my Dad. The Lord gave me the strength as I shared how I would go on without my Dad.
I still miss my Dad, and yet he is still with me. Oh, I don't me physically; but just because I am his son. I find myself saying and doing things Dad would have done. I line my buttons on my shirt with the middle of my belt, just like Dad did. I shine my shoes, just like Dad did. I even tuck my shirt in, just like my Dad. The death of a parent is something that is a loss, not just physical but in every other way. I now miss my Dad because of the way things could have been. Lord help me to be the Father that would make his son(s) proud.
To my Dad, thanks for your love and your belief in me. I am the man I am today because of you. Thank you. Love your son John.