Dad reaches for his wallet and gives an old man a twenty-dollar bill.
“Why would you give a twenty-dollar bill to an old bum?” Pastor Nelson asks, “he’ll just spend it on booze.”
“Because he needs it,” I hear my dad say.
The old man stuffs the bill in his pocket and shuffles down the street to the corner bar.
I’m watching from the steps of Mt. Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, in my blue buttoned dress and mary-janes. My dad looks up and smiles. I run into the Sanctuary to save him a seat, to the pew in the back, the one we sit in every Sunday, the one with all the scratches.
for his mother
lilacs from the neighbor’s yard
his bare knees
William Paul Remy
August 18, 1927 – April 15, 2017
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." Matthew 25:35-36 NIV
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:40 NIV
And so it will be for the sheep, the righteous, gathered before Jesus when he sits on his throne. And so it will be for my dad...
My dad died early Saturday morning, the day before Easter. Dad had not spoken for days and his eyes were closed, but he was peaceful. My sister was with him and I was on the speakerphone. We played Tennessee Ernie Ford on the CD player. What a friend we have in Jesus, we sang along. We talked about heaven and told him jokes. We thanked him for introducing us to Jesus.
Hours passed and we got quiet. We just sat in silence, Lori in the room and me on the phone. Dad's breathing got shallow and very slow. But dad was hanging on, it wasn't time.
It was Good Friday, almost midnight, but Dad wouldn't leave. At 12:15 am Saturday morning, Dad took his last breath. He had crossed over. He was with Jesus.
Lori said to me that it was just like Dad to wait. Did I mention he was stubborn? You see, he wouldn't have considered himself worthy to die on the same day as Jesus did.
That's the thing about my dad, he was humble. He never thought himself better than anyone else. He would do for others, before he did for himself. Maybe it was being the second of five brothers, or losing his mom at age twelve, or living with an alcoholic father...
We will be perfect in heaven. Jesus does that for us when we believe. What age we will be, I don't know. I do know my dad won't need his glasses. And his knees, they will be perfectly smooth, none of the scratches left, Jesus polished those off...
"Behold, I am making all things new." Revelation 21:5 ESV
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16 NIV
All you need to know...
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Susan Beth Furst is a poet, author, and sometime photographer. Her desire is to glorify God with the gifts he has given her.