Lucky Man

20160518_161422.jpgToday I have a dinosaur in my pocket and it made  me think of Dad.

Moving through the dozen rooms of our child care center each day, I pick up stray items, dropping small ones in my pocket or purse to take with me to its proper place in the building.  Often I promptly relocate the items.  Other days they go home with me, forgotten, but eventually returned days later.

That’s how little blue man ended up as a gift for my dad.

When we learned dad was to have major surgery, there was little time to get things organized before flying out to be with him. Cleaning out my purse did not make the to-do list. Somewhere above Missouri, before landing in Kansas City, I discovered little blue man among the pens and paperclips that always sink and line the bottom of my purses. Laughing at myself for carrying such an odd item, I decided to present it to dad as a lucky man, for a lucky man.

We always teased Dad about his luck.  In his lifetime he won recliners, televisions, microwaves, and much more.  Not a gambler, and years before State Lotteries were the norm anyway, he won by signing up at every possible free drawing at fairs and business promotions.  So I told him this little blue guy, now dubbed Lucky Man, was to remind him how lucky he had always been, and would be as he faced the major surgery and subsequent cancer treatment.  He laughed and kept it in his hospital room among the balloons and cards. (I knew he’d like it; the goofy gene in our family definitely came from Dad.)

Lucky Man earned a permanent place on Dad’s bedroom dresser for the almost four years Dad battled pancreatic cancer, post surgery. Lucky years for all of us, to have more time together.

We are a family of faith, and credit God with that time, not luck.  For me, counting yourself lucky in life is mostly about deciding to be happy.  It is choosing joy, wherever it can be found.  Even in the midst of fighting cancer, that was Dad’s  choice, and it served him  well.

 

 

 

 

 

Hope Springs

The yard is more mud than snow, though some stubborn piles of white have not completely disappeared.  The daffodils that budded hopefully before the last snowstorm finally burst into full bloom today.  And despite predictions of yet another snowfall in the next few days, it is beginning to look like our hope in Spring was not misplaced.  Today is Good Friday.

And hope is an important part of this Holy Week.

On Palm Sunday, our pastor reminded us of misplaced hope as a crowd cheered the Jesus they hoped would release them from Roman rule.  Quickly turning against Him when they saw He was not the kind of King to fulfill that hope.  Missing that He was to bring more Hope than they had ever imagined.

The disciples missed it, too.  While He had much to teach them as they shared their last meal together, they were distracted by their own hopes of being great in His Kingdom.

Good Friday is the day of the rejected King.  And when He cried “It is finished” after long hours of agony, it seemed all hope had died with Him.  Those few who had not rejected Him fearfully went into hiding.

All eyes on self, they missed that this was a moment of unimaginable hope.  All their sins had been forgiven, their relationship with God repaired and restored through a perfect sacrifice.  They would suffer fear and hopelessness for two more days before knowing this True Hope.

It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!  Those words have been part of many powerful sermons, and rightly so, because True Hope was revealed in the resurrected Christ.  Beyond our wildest hopes, He covered our sins with one righteous sacrifice and conquered death so that nothing can separate us from our God and King again.  No wonder the disciples were overwhelmed with the Good News of Easter Sunday.  Their lives were never the same.

I know these things. BUT.  I still struggle like the crowd with letting Jesus be King of my little life instead of ME.  I struggle like the disciples with eyes on self when I need to focus on my Hope.  I hide in fear though the One with power over sin and death has called me His Own.

I have needed to hear again the message of Hope this Holy Week.

And oh, King Jesus, may my life never be the same.