Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Coincidence or God?
One day can change your life forever. It can be a good day or a very bad day. All of us have those days. As I was reading Marti's blog and her loving comments about her father I couldn't help but feel so happy for her. She had something priceless, something I could never have. I started reflecting on my own dad and realized I only have a few memories of him. My earliest memory of my dad was when I was in second grade. I remember getting called out of class to go to the air port, you see, my dad was coming home. I had to get dressed in my best cloths and go to the air base (probably El Toro) to meet my dad. He had been away at war, Vietnam for something like 18 months. I didn't even know him. I remember feeling so uncomfortable looking at the stranger standing before me. Life goes pretty blank until 5th grade. We had moved to China Lake Naval base in the Desert of California. We lived in those typical base housing you see in movies like "The Right Stuff". Anyway, I remember "B" mountain, a little foot hill behind our home with a big "B" on it. I remember going to the base theater to watch Mary Poppins (which cost a whole 15 cents). I went by myself. I didn't think anyone would be interested in going with me. When I got home my dad was angry that I didn't take him. Not to many days later my mom and dad got into a horrendous fight. He was beating her up and eventually threw her outside in just her nightgown. I remember her screaming at me to go and call the MP's. I understand that my brother was in the house and not allowed to come out. I ran across the dirt road and asked the neighbors to call the MP's. In my mind I still hear my request "PLEASE CALL THE MP'S, MY DAD IS BEATING UP MY MOM" The MP's came and I am not sure what happened but I suspect he was beaten by them. I remember in terrible detail my mom sitting and spitting blood into a pail. I learned later the fight was about the bill money. She had put away money to pay bills and he wanted it to gamble with. Gambling seemed to be a big problem in his life along with drinking. It was not long after that episode that we moved back to Santa Ana. By now I was in 6th grade. My mom got a divorce and we were one of "those" families. The ones without a father. My mom was a great provider. She worked very hard in a male dominated world. But we always had what we needed. We always had food and cloths. It must have been so hard for her. Trying to raise 2 small kids and provide a loving home. During this time came my one "good" memory. He came one day to my Grandma's (she watched us after school and while my mom was at work) and wanted to take us to get an ice cream. I couldn't wait to go but my brother was not as excited about it. This is the strange thing, I still have pleasant feelings toward my dad even though I realize now I don't have any reason to have those feelings. That day we went to get some ice cream and took some pictures in one of those picture booths. That was the last time I saw him. The next memory I have is being woken up in the night to the sound of a woman sobbing. I thought it was the babysitter because my mom had gone out that night on a date and I had gone to bead when the babysitter was still there. I woke up to the sobbing and figured it was her and she was upset about her boyfriend. The next morning I got up and my mom told me my dad had died the night before. I asked how, she paused, then said "He killed himself" She went on to tell me to tell other people he died in a car crash. It was 1969 when he died and I was 12. God has a way of bringing things full circle. When my husband and I decided to pastor a little church in Hanford my mom was not too excited about it. Probably for all the normal reasons....like can you be able to afford to live if you are in the ministry? But then she said.....after a long pause.....Hanford was the town Pam's dad killed himself in. It was so strange I just didn't know what to make of it. I still don't. He had been seeing another woman here and I often wonder if I have more family I don't know about. I wonder if I will run into that family who found his body. I wonder what God's purpose would be in bringing us here. I don't have an answer for that. Why am I writing about this? I don't know. It was on my heart and if there is anyone reading this who suffered a similar situation I hope my story would encourage you that there is a God who loves you and is working behind the scenes to work out things like this. I had such a hole in my life from this one selfish act. I lived in constant fear that my mom would die too and they what would happen to me? What if there was not enough food? What if she left too? Then I met my wonderful husband and were married. Not long after that we gave our lives in service to the Lord and one day while praying I received a vision from the Lord. I saw this huge pit. I gazed over it and way down at the bottom was a little struggling plant. It had lovely leaves and no flowers. As I watched it grew and grew until it completely filled the hole, so much so that you could not see the hole or know it was there. It was a magnificent plant full of flowers. As I was thinking about it, the thought came to me, "that is you!" I began to understand the hole was the horrible aftermath of living with suicide, but when I gave my life to Jesus he became my father and mother (as Psalm 27:10 promises). He healed me from within and showed me how He saw that hole. It was no longer a hole. It was a magnificent flowering bush. I believe one day I will understand why He brought us to Hanford. I don't think the story is finished yet. So to answer my own question, No I don't believe in consciences. I believe our paths are set before our feet and we walk with excitement knowing a loving father is leading us. What is the measure of a man? It is his willingness to walk with God and rely on Him to guide you. I never had a father, but I knew my Father in heaven and Has given me a wonderful life!