“At some point, you have to realize that some people can stay in your heart but not in your life.” – Sandi Lynn
I’ve been thinking a lot about my dear dad lately. Not surprising since today is the Day of the Dead and next week is the 7th anniversary of when he got on his bike one sunny afternoon, collided with a car and died suddenly.
In his eulogy, my brother said about my dad, “He met you where you were without leaving where he was.” Which rang so true that I’m still in awe of it. As a pastor, my dad stood with so many others in times of crisis and grief – tragedies, accidents, divorces, mistakes. He had this way of being non-judgmentally empathetic without leaving his beliefs or values behind.
When I asked him about it, he said, “Let’s face it, everyone is on their own journey and we don’t get to see everyone at the top of their game. Some are just getting started. We only get a glimpse of them at one point in time, some maybe longer, and our job is to love them so they move forward, closer to the Lord and closer to those God has placed in their lives.”
And then my dad added a bit about what an honor his job had been, “One of the unique things about ministry is that you are able to be with people in some of the most precious, important, holy moments of their life . . . birth, death, baptism, marriage, funeral, crisis. A pastor steps in to the middle of someone’s life at those unique times and that is pretty rare.”
There’s something magical that has happened in the years since his death. Our conversation has continued. Maybe because we talked so much about his life before he died or maybe just because we loved each other so much, but there are moments when I feel him “just beyond the veil” as he put it.
And the more it happens, the more I think about what he’d advise, the more he becomes entwined and embodied in me. Our relationship has not ended at all, it’s just become even more true that he meets me where I’m at without leaving where he’s at.