The whole situation felt surreal as Gene and I sat on the couch in Diane’s living room, watching the video of family and friends celebrating my dad’s life. I think the enormity of what I’d missed suddenly struck me as I watched the pallbearers carry Dad’s casket from the hearse to the gravesite. Four chairs were placed beside the casket – one for Mom, one for my brother, another for my sister, and the fourth for me. Three chairs were filled and one sat empty…until my sister invited Gene to take my place. One by one, each immediately family member stepped to the casket, spoke a few words in Dad’s honor, and placed a carnation on the top. Unfortunately their voices weren’t picked up by the mic, so I wasn’t able to hear what they said.
Thankfully that wasn’t a problem for the memorial service. I could hear every word that was spoken, and they were totally God-honoring. The service paid tribute to Dad and gave glory to the Lord for a life well-lived. While I grieve the loss of my dad, I rejoice in the fact that he’s whole and in heaven. I can only imagine what an Easter celebration must be like there!
The rest of the day was spent with our IM coworkers. I’m so blessed by their concern for me through the loss of my father. And I’m incredibly blessed and excited to see how God uses these people to accomplish His purposes. Their perseverance is to be commended. Working conditions here aren’t what they’d be in North America. Bureaucracy and political red tape can complicate the simplest task. Internet disruptions can cause all kinds of trouble when trying to process overseas government documents. Public transportation glitches can wreak havoc when running late. There are numerous reasons for them to grow discouraged and weary, but these folks have the tough stuff it takes to survive and thrive here. “Bless them, Lord. Grant them strength for their road. Direct their steps. And lead them beside the still waters, restoring their souls when they’re weary.”