“All you need is the bible.”
My dad read the bible his whole Christian life. Every day. His social life and church life were as one. My mum and dad were Christians. Committed Christians is the phrase.
I think it worth mentioning that “religion” for me as a child wasn’t good or bad. It just was.
We went to church, read the bible and prayed. Like we went to the dentists and brushed our teeth. Like we had to go to sleep after lights out each night. Like everything else as a child – it just was.
We knew we were loved – even if that meant being told to share, to sit still, to not do that, to do this and this. We were loved – and we took that for granted as well.
So just what did my dad need from his bible … ?
“The stories I want to share : II“ – November 10th 2013
My parents were Christians all my life. Except for two weeks.
Two weeks in the middle of my life. Two weeks at the end of my Dad’s. At the end of his life. The two weeks when he lost his faith. He lost his lord. And he lost his soul.
He was dying. Dad knew he was dying. He wrote us all a letter. We knew he was dying. No one knew when. Dad thought he did.
There was a morning after that night when Dad said “Take me I’m ready” and God said “Not yet”. There was a morning after that night when dad’s bible lay open and untouched. Open at the same place as the day before. There was the first morning he didn’t begin breakfast with his hearty thank you lord. The hearty greeting he gave every morning. There was that first morning he didn’t want anyone knocking on his door. He shut the door. All my life dad had god. And now he didn’t.
All my life a “Hallelujah” type of guy. All my life he had been a “Thy will be done” kinda dad. All my life he had been a “Without You I am nothing” kinda dad. Now he wasn’t. Now he had nothing.
“Without you I am nothing.”
How often we hear those words from Christians. Ones we aspire to being. Ones who lead us. Ones closer to God than us. Without God we are worthless sinners. Without God we are nothing.
Something about that “declaration” always makes me wince.
Because I could never imagine God watching over us all and saying “Without me you are nothing.” I could not see that in my God. The one I loved. The one who loved us and me. I could never buy-in to a God who needed that. Why would he want us buying-in to that? Why would he buy-in to being my Dad’s God? The one who leaves us with nothing without Him: “I created such a rubbish creation that without Me you do not work” kinda God. How is that loving. How is that precious. How is that free will. How is that love. How is that God? It was not my God. And – now – it was not Dad’s God.
Dad said I am ready. God said no.
Those two weeks were not his last two weeks. There were a couple more. Because when he shut the door on the outside world, when he shut the door on god … we talked human instead. We didn’t talk god. We talked depression. We talked weariness. We talked how the two feel so alike. We talked how today had good bits. Even though it felt empty. We hugged. We kissed. We started another new day. We talked more human. Still not god. Kept the door shut on others. All those others who saw dad as the “Hallelujah” kinda dad. All those wanting to sit for a few minutes and bask in his “wonderful faith”.
Instead we talked about small stuff. We talked little. We had silences. Dad on his own. No bible. No thank you god. No hallelujahs. No hearty anythings. Just dad. A few words. Mostly silence. So much silence. And space. So much space. It was weird after all this time with him and the hallelujahs. It was hard after all this time. It hurt to see him so lost. But it was so “right” after all this time. So right for him.
So right to be the confused man he had become. So right to be in silence. Silence to walk. To meander through his own desert. Hurting. By himself. Without his family. Without his Hallelujahs.
The lord did that for forty days and forty nights. Dad didn’t have that long.
Dad’s bible remained dusty. His small breakfast had no more hearty “Thank You Lord”. There were no more Hallelujahs. Dad didn’t need them anymore. He was becoming something without them.
He was finding his lord. He was finding himself. Without razzmatazz. Without “I am nothing without you”. He was finding something new. After a Hallelujah God filled lifetime, dad found his own precious soul. The one we loved so much. The dad we loved. The dad who god loved.
A god who loved my dad walking without a spring in his tired human step. A lord who wanted His precious treasure to value himself. With or without. Pretty damn special without Him. Super special precious with Him. Because dad gently became that kinda guy. A quietly proud kinda dad. Of what he had done. Of what he was doing right now. Without God.
My dad was a Christian all my life except for those two weeks.
He found a new god. After a lifetime he found his lord. The one who needs no razzmatazz. Who wants us as much as we want him. Or not. The one who is proud of us just as we are. With – and without – him. And when dad was still learning, still finding this newness, when he finally saw what his loving god had always seen, when he did not expect it, the lord said “ready”. No fanfares. No hallelujahs. No knowing.
And dad went into a coma. So gently it was difficult to be sure. So quietly I had to guess. And then, with just my sister and me, dad gently faded away. He left us and joined his lord.
Dad thought he was ready. God disagreed. Dad thought he knew all there was to know. God disagreed. He saw something dad wouldn’t see his whole life. So God waited. He waited for this Hallelujah guy to see how precious he truly was. God waited for dad to see that.
God waited for our dad.
Those words make me shiver. Can you even imagine what they mean? My heavenly father waited for my very precious dad! Even now. Y ears later. I shiver. I wonder. I am proud. I was there.
These are the stories I want to share.