Saturday, February 10, 2007

Support: Family is Bigger than you Think

It’s my Dad’s 64th Birthday! Understandably, we’re not going to have a big old party. But at least Auntie Laurie and Uncle Jim were able to go in and see him for the first time since he arrived. And he was also able to eat some of the ‘special’ Chinese food I brought him. I tell you, he’s almost as rabid about Chinese as his dad was.

I went to the Aldergrove Church with the intention of giving Pastor Dave an update so that he could share it with the congregation. But of course, I slept in and didn’t get around to leaving until I was late for the second service. The praise service was already under way when I arrived. Bill Gerber met me when I came in, and the good man was kind enough to sneak up front to tell the pastor that I was there and had a bit to share with him, if possible. But the pastor just nodded and didn’t move. Bill came back around to where I was, and the only warning I got was when he said, “Uh oh. He didn’t even follow me. Be ready to go up front, ‘cause he does that sort of thing.”

Sure enough, the Pastor announced my Dad’s condition, then called me out onto the carpet to provide details. It was done very nicely, and I could see that many of the members were visibly concerned about him. A special prayer was held, and then I got the opportunity to do what my Dad had asked me to do. “Give everybody a hug from me who wants one,” he said. When I announced that this is what he’d asked me to do and that I’d be in the foyer after the service to ‘deliver’ to all takers, the congregation brought the house down with instantaneous and thunderous applause.

I don’t know how many hugs I handed out, or even most of the names of those who lined up for their ‘turn’. I do know that I stopped counting at about 28 and that there were numerous people after that. Throughout, I had a strong sense of support from everyone collectively and individually that really touched me and lifted my spirits. I so much wish that my dad could have been there to receive it all first-hand, because he was still in a lot of pain, scared about the unknown, and not comfortable with the idea of visitors seeing him in his current condition. Instead, he had to settle for my verbal account of the whole experience, which I tried in vain to do justice. It was a rare ‘major’ day surrounded and cramped in by a host of ‘minors.’

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