My dad loves Jesus; like really loves Him with ALL his heart. Nineteen years ago, he suffered a massive stroke and among many other issues, it came with aphasia (the loss of ability to understand or express speech, caused by brain damage).
Aspiration pneumonia recently landed my dad in the hospital for a few days. My family and I went to visit him and I wore a particular shirt because I knew my dad would love it. And he did. This shirt had a bunch of superheroes sitting with Jesus, and the caption bubble above Jesus says, “And that’s how I saved the world.” He loved the shirt so much we spent time on the internet picking out the perfect color for his t-shirt just like it. He carefully looked through each color option to make sure no super hero was lost on the particular color chosen.
Our twins took my mom down to the cafeteria to treat her to lunch, which afforded Brandon and I some one-on-one time with dad. It was during this time that a nurse came in to check on dad.
When she walked in, dad motioned for her to look at my shirt and he tried so hard to say, “Jesus, my hero”. Since she is a believer in Christ, she responded, “Oh yes, He is. He is the only way.” We shared a brief faith conversation before she had to continue on her rounds.
My dad, who can barely speak a full sentence, is in a hospital bed, wearing a hospital gown, and yet is making sure to tell his nurse about Jesus.
I’ll have a helping of ice cream with my humble pie, please.
If my dad can share Jesus the best way he can under those circumstances, what is my excuse in all other circumstances?
After she left the room, dad’s smile faded and was replaced with a very pensive, thought-filled face. Dad said, “19 years. My goodness.” (“My goodness” is one of his go-to phrases.)
I sat on the bed with dad, held his hand, and agreed with him how awful his circumstances are; I do this because I feel it is important to let him know that I grieve with him before I offer encouragement. I do not want him to ever feel I am brushing aside what he has endured for the past nineteen years. Then, I offered some encouragement that at least this part of life is so very short.
Francis Chan is a preacher who shares an analogy comparing a rope to eternal life. He is speaking in a large auditorium and has a rope on stage with the first five inches painted red, while the rest of the rope goes across the stage and he tells the audience to envision that it wraps around the entire auditorium. He equates the red part to our life here on earth, while the rest of the rope is eternity. Chan says that people spend so much time consumed with the red part, while not even considering the rest of the rope.
I pulled up his video of the rope analogy on my phone and we watched it together. Then, we rejoiced together that we are in the red part of the rope and we both held up our fingers so close together to demonstrate just how short it is. We hugged and I cried. We stayed hugged together with tears flowing down my face until I voiced how I loved hugging him in the hospital since he did not stink. He had on his shocked face as I laughed through my tears and explained to his sweet, shocked face what I meant.
You see, my dad loves cologne. Like almost as much as he loves Jesus. For real…there is no amount of cologne that is too much for him. We try and try and try to tell him he stinks when he “bathes” in it before leaving the house, but alas, our efforts are always in vain. So, like I said, I enjoyed this hospital hug—because I could actually breathe during the embrace!
Ending in laughter was like medicine to the soul. Realizing how short this life on earth is, helped put things into perspective. Dad sharing Jesus with his nurse that day shows he understands the importance of securing one’s eternal destination. The fact that my dad suffered a massive, life-altering stroke at the age of forty-eight, and still shares the hope that is found in believing in Jesus, shows how special knowing Jesus as your Savior is, and I’d say that my dad is pretty special too! I am so grateful for my dad and the great reminder he gave me that day. He is home now, all healed from the aspiration pneumonia, praise the Lord!