By Bruce Kessler
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Surrounded by cotton fields and decorated by large Georgia Oaks with hanging moss and tall pines waving gently in the south Georgia breeze stood my parents white, wood-framed house in Newington, Ga.
“Memory is a net. One finds it full of fish when he takes it from the brook, but a dozen miles of water have run through it without sticking.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
This time of year through Christmas, I pull in my memory net more than normal, for the treasures are there waiting to be rediscovered. The haul of fish soothes and comforts me.
I am thankful beyond measure for the joy of one particular day. Dad was extremely sick with prostate cancer.
I had flown in from Oklahoma to be with him. Death was just around the corner. Time was short. Every moment was special.
What I did not know, perhaps I thought I did but couldn’t quite grasp at the time, was just how painful this dreaded disease was for my dad. A few days after his death, I found a note in which he described his pain “as a hound-dog nipping at his heel every waking moment.”
Yet, on this particular day, he demanded that we get out, take a drive, get some breakfast, just father and son. It would be our last breakfast together.
We stopped at a local restaurant, and not long, he started feeling pain, shaking, and I immediately gave him pain medicine on his wrist. I wanted to take him home, but he would not hear it. No, he needed to stay.
Over breakfast, we shared thoughts on various Biblical scriptures, talked about the church, about eternal life and about family. We were open, no barriers, simply put, refreshing honesty. This was pure, quality conversation.
On our way home, he grasped my shoulder, gently caressing it with tears, and said, “I am so proud of you. I love you, son.”
My last breakfast with my dad is a forever memory, a day to be thankful for and truly a great haul of fish.
Psalm 105:1 says, “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!”
I think of this special day that I had with my dad. Yet, what made this day even more golden, and even more treasured, was the fact that God was so central in my dad’s life. Without his faith, without Jesus, without hope of eternal life, his pain and his death would be meaningless, another footnote in the graves of the forgotten.
Yet, while it was the last breakfast with my dad on this world, by no means will it be the last time I will see my dad.
The world offers a cold contrast to death and pain — emptiness, nothingness and meaningless.
Christ offers a more vivid hope, 1 Corinthians 15:51-57, says “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
My dad and I shared a life moment together years ago. The memory net was weaved, forged together through a faith that will last to eternity. I am thankful for this victory through Jesus and for my dad who passed this gift on to me.
Do you have this faith? Are the memories in your life forged in the power of God’s son?
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