I titled my blog based on something my Dad always said to me (“Hug the Mountain”), so it is only fitting that my August post, HE PRAYED, honor him, as he would have been 91 years old on August 15th. He’s been living in his mansion over the hilltop for just over five years now and though I miss him terribly and I’m brought to tears frequently at the very thought of him, I’m so happy that his body is healthy and whole right now and he lives pain free, worshiping his creator.
I was raised with four siblings, spending every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening in a church service. Additionally, my parents held “Visitation Meetings” in our home and the church sponsored “Singings”, potlucks, vacation bible school, youth activities, etc. That time together shaped us and directed many of our life decisions as a family. The church we belonged to conducted worship with a cappella singing only. I have vivid memories of my Dad standing next to me, singing the bass line from the shaped-notes hymnal. To this day, as a musician, I believe that’s why I hear the bass line more predominantly when I listen to music. As my Dad aged and after my Mother died, he began to sing the melody line of hymns. I don’t know why he changed his preference and to this day, along with many other questions, I regret not asking him.
I recall when our conversation would turn to my Dad’s preferences for his funeral, he always said, “Whatever you girls want. It won’t matter to me.” He did say one time, however, when asked what he wanted printed on his headstone, he stated simply, “HE PRAYED.” That was so appropriate. He was a praying man, a man after God’s own heart, and he believed greatly in the power of prayer. I’m sure his prayers carried him through many of the earthly trials with which he was faced . . . my older brother and sister’s drug addictions and subsequent deaths, my Mother’s sudden and tragic death at the hands of a 16-year-old drunk driver, his severe injuries from the crash that killed my Mother, living in constant pain . . . just to name a few. His model as a prayer warrior affected me profoundly and instilled in me a faith that, likewise, has carried me through many earthly trials. He lived what he believed. Nowadays we would say “He walked the talk.”
As a side note and to offer a bit of comedy relief: When my Mother died, I was riding with my sisters to the cemetery after the funeral. We talked about what should go on her headstone. I mentioned that my Dad wanted “HE PRAYED” on his and one of my sisters said, “Well, Mother’s should read SHE SHOPPED!” We all cackled, as only four sisters can! It was this type of humor that helped get us through that particular valley and many more to follow.
My Dad stood before Jesus on June 28, 2011. My son, Will, had the first date with Natalie, the girl he would marry, one year after Dad died, to the day. They would be married the next year, June 28, 2013, on that date. My parents grew daylilies, acres and acres of daylilies. People would drive by just to look at their stunning landscape. It would be just a few years after Dad died that I realized Matthew 6:28 is the scripture we frequently referred to, “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing.” God’s way of telling us He loves us so much, we shouldn’t worry because He will take care of us and Dad did not worry, he prayed. 6:28 . . . June 28 . . .Very fitting.
So, happy birthday, Dad. You fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith. Your crown of righteousness has been awarded and you are Home. Your legacy is deep and wide, strong and solid, precious and true and I am grateful.