I hadn’t been in over a year. Goodness, that’s hard to believe.
My dad goes up there sometimes, and he always assures me that I’m welcome. But I’ve been so busy–same ol’ song and dance, you know. And well, it’s just not the same since my grandmother passed away.
When my grandmother was living, I’d go visit her as often as possible. And well, with my uncle living down the road, he was a package deal. My dad might come up sometimes, and I’d see him, too.
When my grandmother was ill, we three spent much time together, on her behalf. And well, I just got to missing those two something awful. I’d heard my uncle had been sick with pneumonia recently.
My uncle on the left, who spent all morning cooking for us,
and my dad on the right who’d spend all morning doing
Elvis impersonations if a knee weren’t bothering him.
He’s good, too.
I’ve learned to listen to that gentle nudging. I always know the Lord is speaking to my heart.
My dad tells me a date that’s good for him. We’ll all go out to eat, we plan. Make a day of it. My heart’s already leaping.
The day arrives, and we leave fairly early … the girls and I venture out to go the distance–2-1/2 hours there.
I call my dad when I’m an hour away, and he sounds like a little kid. He’s so excited to see us. “I can’t wait for y’all to get here,” he says.
I miss her road. Her Texas county road. I chastise myself for letting a year go by. How could I miss her road? I pull off and turn around, heading the right direction now.
And there’s her driveway. The long windy, sandy driveway trimmed with pines. Yeah. I played on that road a ton when I was a kid. My toes burrowed through that sand.
My heart pumps with ingrained excitement, as I turn onto her drive. In my younger days, that’s when I’d bring out the hairbrush and dab on a little make-up–prepare to see my family. Like I’d looked that way all along. Just my casual self.
Before I even get to the house, my dad is outside waiting, pacing. Just like my grandmother used to do. He’s holding a camera. The minute we step out, he says, “I want to get a picture of y’all.” I’ve never danced with my dad, but this moment was right up there. O Soul Within, he loves you.
We hug. He says my uncle is making dinner for us.
“But he’s been so sick,” I say.
“He really wanted to cook for you,” my dad says. O Soul Within, he loves you, too.
Noon finally arrives, and we head over to his Texas country house. I climb the steps and knock.
He’s cooking. Doing the shuffle throughout his kitchen, he’s made a Thanksgiving feast–a whole turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, some casserole, rolls, cherry pie. Like my grandmother used to do. Evidence covers the front of his shirt–flour, splotches of grease. He looks exhausted. He’s sweaty. Clearly, his strength hasn’t returned and may never. Other health issues.
I start sweating too because his blood is thinner now, and he keeps his house warm. And I’m having power-surges (ABS!). And I’m imagining cracking open a window for fresh air.
My mouth gapes open, with a smile. He’s twirled my heart right in. I know my eyes are glowing with a slight hint of confusion. “What have you done?” I ask. “You’ve been sick.”
“I wanted to do this for my baby.”
My uncle put me first, grateful that I’d come the distance. For him. For my dad. Regardless of how he felt.
O Soul Within, it’s not easy to honor the One who went the distance for us when you are sick, hurting, struggling …
To put Him first … to treat Him like the love of your life …
It’s tempting to settle for Kentucky Fried Chicken, the quick and easy.
But you’ll always be blessed for the effort. Allow the evidence to cover you and others. Don’t let too much time go by. Don’t miss the road. Take His hand and do the dance … waltz the floor …
one, two, three, one two, three …
Because He loves you.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.
When you’re tired and struggling, is it tempting to push the very One Who can strengthen you to the back burner? How do you ensure God comes first?