Monday, September 26, 2011

Approval from Across the Years



I moved to California when I was seventeen years old...seventeen! Now as a mother of a 14 year old girl and an 11 year old boy, I cannot IMAGINE how my parents let me go at that age...by myself...across the country...with no supervision whatsoever. Were they nuts??? Of course, since I was 4th in the line of five girls, my parents probably thought, "Four down, one to go. Don't let the door hit you on the way out!"

I know they were scared and hesitant, but they knew I was following a dream that I had had since childhood...that of becoming a singer. And I was moving to L.A. to join an international music group, The Young Americans. Since I had always had a kind of "large and in charge" personality (as my sister, Margaret, has so aptly put it), perhaps they thought I could handle whatever came my way. Ultimately, I think they were putting their faith in God and in me to follow Him. Challenges along the way were great. But I kept a close connection to home and went to visit whenever I could. My parents' values always kept me grounded...even when I delusionally thought I was famous because I lived in LA and sang in a dinner theater for my supper!

Today, I miss my parents so greatly and long to be able to care for them as they cared for me. I do what I can from across the miles but it never seems like enough. There is just nothing that compares with a hug, a kiss, a laugh in person. But I am raising my own family here in California, and they taught me care of immediate family must come first.

Mostly my difficulty lies in the fact that my father...my mentor, my rock, my teacher...is now suffering with Alzheimers. Talking on the phone is not the best method of communication as so many social and conversational cues need to be visualized when one has this disease. He cannot see me or my reactions so conversation can be challenging. I carry guilt that I cannot go home more often so I can continue to communicate with him while he is still able.

One day I was beating myself up about this in a pretty serious way. I was cleaning out my storage unit and going through old papers and mementos. Suddenly, in the midst of my anguish, I came across a gift Daddy and Mama had made and given to me years ago...one I had held onto but had not displayed in my home for years. I held it in my hands as I grieved for my father, and I read the inscription:

"May your prayers be steppingstones to Heaven.
May your faith be as solid as this rock.
May an inner peace be the cornerstone of your life."

Now seeing these words in my father's beautiful handwriting brought me to my knees. But seeing the date inscribed at the bottom rocked my world harder than the inscription had. The date was November 5, 1984. November 5th...my daughter's birthday twelve years later.

It was as if, from across the years, Daddy knew what was in store for me. He also knew I would have this moment of sadness and was saying, "I know, child, how you're suffering. But we know great things are coming for you." If I hadn't moved here, I would not have met my wonderful husband and that date, November 5th, would not be one of my greatest celebrations but just another date on the calendar. And Mama and Daddy would not have had all the blessings my child has brought to them.

Thank you, Daddy, for your foresight...for your belief in me...for your belief that God's hand is at work in my life to bring about His plan for us all. Your prayers were steppingstones to Heaven.

And thank you, God, for this message when I needed it the most.

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