The Greatest of These

The house is dark and quiet, and it’s way past time for me to be asleep and way too early for me to be awake.  Yet here I am, unable to drift off into a peaceful sleep.  Knowing how much I love my sleep, you can imagine how strange this is.  Please forgive me if I simply ramble on for a little while.  I have no idea where this is headed.

I am acutely aware of why I can’t sleep.  We’re still in the throes of the holidays; a time for families to be together.  And while our family is blessed to live close enough to be together for all the major holidays, the absence of my father still haunts me in moments like tonight when I am alone and quiet and still.

It’s not that the holidays are more difficult than any other time.  We don’t have any big Christmas traditions.  We don’t gather around the piano and sing carols.  We don’t sit with each other while someone reads the Christmas story or ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  No one dresses up like Santa.  There’s nothing big that I miss about Daddy around Christmas.

It’s the little things.

When I was in grade school and college, I went with him to deliver Christmas baskets put together by our church.  Riding with him on those cold Christmas Eve mornings were some of the best times we had together, including the time we got stuck on a dirt road and had to walk to the Thornton’s house and have their son pull us out with a tractor.  That’s right.  We walked.  In the cold.  Maybe as far as a mile or more.  Keep in mind this was in the dark ages of the ’80s when cell phones weren’t around.

Every Christmas morning, Daddy made sure Christmas music was playing in the background while we opened our presents.  I never really thought about it.  It was just there.  This year, my brother made sure it was playing.  I’m glad.

When we were little, we always left a note for Santa, and Santa never failed to write back.  I looked forward to the note he would leave just as much as the presents.  I wonder if he knew that.

There were always a couple of presents that were hard to open.  Daddy always, ALWAYS, had a small pocket knife handy just for that very reason.  (Not only was he in the military, he was a former Boy Scout and Boy Scout leader.  Prepared?  Yes.)

One Christmas when our niece, Caroline, was about four or five, David and I spent Christmas Eve night with his parents.  Caroline and her parents did, too.  Just before Caroline went to bed, Daddy called and pretended to be Santa.  I’ve never seen a child’s eyes get so big.  I’m sure Daddy’s eyes were equally as big, and it tickled him to do it.

This Christmas, like I wrote about earlier, was wonderful.  No one showed a smidge of sadness, because, as I’ve said before, Daddy would not have us waste a minute being sad when there is so much happiness and joy right in front of us.  We all missed him, though.  We knew that, had he been there, he would have had a grand time.

Because he loved us.  Without a doubt, he loved us with his whole heart.

Though my father is no longer here, and as hard as it is for me to be without him, his love was and is a gift that stays with me forever.

As I sit here tonight, thinking about my Daddy and all the memories I have and the gift of his unconditional love as a parent, I can’t help but be reminded of another magnificent gift that was given to all us so long ago by our Father who loves each one of us and calls us His own.

And now these three remain: hope, faith, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”  1 Corinthians 13:13

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kelley
    Dec 30, 2009 @ 09:01:44

    I feel the same way about my grandmother. It isn’t any particular day that is hard, but there are times when I think of her and it’s at the most random times! While my grandmother was never a “kiss you and hug the stuffing out of you” grandma, she loved us more than we’ll ever know and I still miss her (13 years later!). I read recently that missing a loved one is never easy–easier to deal with, but never easy.

    I loved this–so simple, yet real. : )

    Reply

  2. Heather U
    Dec 30, 2009 @ 09:26:27

    Oh man, you got me all sniffly and weepy first thing in the morning. Well at least we know one thing for sure… whether you are well rested or sleep deprived it makes no difference – you can still write a darn good blog posting!

    Reply

  3. Jennifer
    Dec 30, 2009 @ 10:14:31

    Sniff, sniff. That was beautiful. That’s all. Just, that was beautiful. Your daddy must have been so proud of you.

    Reply

  4. JD
    Dec 30, 2009 @ 15:31:46

    You’re the best! And, I know what you mean……… you miss them, their presence, the little things….. , but you know they wouldn’t want you sad and depressed. My Nanny just said out of the blue Christmas, it sure does feel weird without Tommy (my uncle) here making jokes about why all the rest of the family is so late getting here. And, she was right. Bless her sweet heart. She buried her baby boy 6 months ago, and she constantly tells us that she’ll never get past it. I believe life goes on, but you never quit thinking about them or missing them. Sounds like you had a great father…….. something to be proud of! Happy New Year’s to you and your family!

    Reply

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