Wednesday, May 29th, 2024 Church Directory
Bill Morgan, Citizen Staff Writer

Life Goes On

A week from Monday will be the one-year anniversary of my father’s death from pneumonia. He was 87 years old.

He died on Easter morning while most of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren held his hands and watched him take his last breath.
 
Easter this year and beyond will never be the same.
 
Though we try and dwell on the good memories we have of our dad, it’s hard not to get melancholy and disheartened that he is not here to grace our presence anymore.
 
My dad’s death (and the timing) makes me think about how the disciples and followers of Jesus must have felt following his death.
 
No more listening to his teaching. No more watching him touch people’s lives with his stories and his charm. No more hearing that calm, confident voice and the wisdom his mouth expelled.
 
My dad was a good Christian man who patterned his life — intentional or inadvertently — after the one person who exemplified what a good friend, a good example and a good mentor is all about.
 
I miss my father and like the disciples of their day, know  — though his physical presence has departed — a part of the man they adored was never more than a prayer away.
 
In Philip Yancey’s book, “What Good is God?: In Search of a Faith That Matters,” Yancey questions  where God is when we humans face hard-hitting challenges and hurts. That answer is obvious to Christians because God came to earth and showed us by example.
 
“You need only follow Jesus around and note how he responded to the tragedies of his day: large-scale tragedies such as an act of government terrorism in the temple or a tower collapsing on eighteen innocent bystanders; as well as small tragedies, such as a widow who has lost her only son or even a Roman soldier whose servant has fallen ill. 
 
At moments like these Jesus never delivered sermons about judgment or the need to accept God’s mysterious providence. Instead he responded with compassion – a word from Latin which simply means, “to suffer with” – and comfort and healings. God stands on the side of those who suffer.”
 
It’s comforting to me to know that my dad is no longer suffering from pneumonia, dementia, depression and many of the other physical ailments he faced here on earth, but is reunited with my mom and his family and walking the streets of gold with the one person on earth he patterned his ways after.
 
Jesus Christ.
 
It’s also comforting to know none of those people  - Jesus, my dad, my mom, my grandparents, etc. -  are not dead, they’re alive -  more alive than most of us.
And to think, they all are just a prayer away.
 
In another Yancey book, “Where is God When it Hurts?”, this final thought: “An irony: death, the one event that causes the greatest emotional pain, in reality opens a doorway into the great joy of eternity.”