Dad’s 83rd birthday was a couple days ago. I wanted to write then, but our lives were beautifully busy with Dad’s grandchildren and great grandchildren. It was an epic five days. Thankfully, it’s never too late to honor your Dad, to resist the fading of memories. And when your eyes fill and the lump in your throat comes, you press into those memories. You write, you talk, you share, you remember him and his legacy. You can learn so much from a life that reads well, a life that made a difference in the lives of others. I want to remember the person Dad was. Sometimes I think I know him better now than when he was here with us. And that makes me grieve. Why is it that we fail to recognize that each moment is a memory in the making?
Mom is in the thick of writing a book. It’s the story of how God touch her and Dad, filling them with a fire that burned deep in their hearts. They carried this all consuming fire with them everywhere, not just to church. Whoever crossed their path felt the warmth of a life giving fire. Whether it was the kids they loved at Bible camp, their little congregation in Tampa, the Indians in the jungles of Suriname, the staff and residents of a nursing home or their friends and family, everyone was unquestionably touched by the love of Jesus.
There is something inspiring and centering when you look at a life from beginning to end, reading a story well written, full of struggles, hopes, sacrifices, dreams, adventure, heartache, and joy. Through it all you find the relentless beauty of God’s love and grace, fueling the fire and filling every twist and turn along the way.
A chapter of my parent’s life reveals an important lesson. Over the course of a few years and several expeditions, this consuming fire in their hearts led them to make contact with several groups of Akuriyo Indians, a stone age people who were becoming extinct. Fire was very important to these Indians. They could never let their fire sticks go out. As they roamed the jungle in search of food, they had to carry their fire with them. If their fire died out, so did they.
As I reminisce and remember Dad, and watch and walk alongside Mom, I am challenged. What kind of story am I writing with my life? Will it read well? Are there chapters that need some editing? Do my priorities reveal a fire that is about to go out? What fuels my fire? Acceptance? Worth? Fear?
As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to fuel the fire of God’s love in my heart with gratitude for all He has done for me. I do not want my grandchildren to question what I lived for. I want them to know. I want them to be inspired to walk with God and write their own book of fire.