Circles Closing

I have vivid childhood memories of my father carrying me off to bed on many weekend nights. On school nights we had to run off to bed at whatever the appointed time was for our age. But on Friday or Saturday nights or in the summer, I invariably conked out in the living room in front of the television.

At some point, I would waken a little as Dad–a lanky six-foot-two and sinewy 210 pounds–scooped me up in his arms and carried me, a limp rag doll, off to bed. Sometime shortly after my eighth birthday, that became more of a feat as we moved into the two story house out in the country that would be their home for the next 37 years.

It was not long after that move that I grew to be too heavy and those stairs too steep for Dad to provide that service any longer. But while it lasted, I loved the feeling of floating and rising up those stairs in that foggy groggy state between sleep and wakefulness.

This last Friday I scooped my father up in my arms a laid him in his new bed at the Alzheimer’s care facility that will be his home for the foreseeable future. Or at least I tried.

He has lost an astonishing number of inches from his frame, and the stresses of the battle he’s been fighting have reduced him to scarcely 150 pounds. Nevertheless, he was heavily sedated and I did not move him to his bed with the same grace and ease with which he used to do the same for me.

We are all grateful that it worked out for Dad to be in a place that is less than a 10 minute drive from Mom and the house. Will she be with him much? She is having her easy chair moved into his room tomorrow.

Hurried home that night to be ready for yesterday’s book signing event at the Mardel’s Bookstore in Hurst Texas. I was heartened and humbled by the number of friends who came out to support and well-wish, including one old buddy I haven’t seen in more than 15 years.

At church this morning I taught a class of 50 or 60 wonderfully receptive and engaged attendees on the subject of prayer.

I know every principle and precept I presented is sound and true. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but wonder, if only for a fleeting moment, if a man should be teaching others about how to get things done in prayer when he is fighting fierce battles in so many areas of his life.

But then I remembered that the Apostle Paul wrote half the New Testament from jail and that John wrote Revelation as an exiled slave in a island mining colony. And suddenly I felt like an exemplar of victorious Christian living.

I have been invited to speak this Tuesday to a small group of men from our church who are fathers of daughters and who meet together regularly to seek God’s help in that wonderful endeavor.

My advice? Love them, protect them, cover them, speak the Word over them. And by all means, carry them off to bed as long as you possibly can.

{Postcript: Dad passed quietly and peacefully fewer than 48 hours after I published the post above.}