I showed up and I showed love. I wanted to show and make a difference. I wanted say all the things that needed to be said. I wanted to show up and see a novel ending a cliché movie ending, where a father on his death bed forgives his daughter. I wanted to be part of that. I wanted to make it happen but I showed up and I showed love and that’s all I did.
It didn’t happen the way I thought it would. It didn’t make for a great moving and inspirational story. It didn’t happen the way it would have in a book or in a great Hallmark movie. There isn’t any real reassurance forgiveness happened but what I do know is, I showed up and I showed love. There was peace in the room, because it wasn’t my love alone, it was Jesus loving through me. I believe that God has given me the gift to show up and show love, to show up and show His love
No matter where my father- in- law was in his life, no matter where my sister-in-law is in hers and the choices she’s made, I can show up and I can show love. I really can’t do anything else, that’s the Holy Spirits job, but this is what I know: I know when my father-in-law passed away he had peace. He passed away peacefully. He quit struggling his breathing calmed, he turned his head and went to sleep. Not at all how his doctors expected his passing to be not at all how any of us who knew Frank thought it would be. My sister-in law, Jodi lost her mom, her brother and now the last one in her family, her father. She had been out of communication with her father’s side of the family for over a year. I was able to find her and talk to her and I told her I loved her. I told her when fathers can’t protect their daughters from what they perceive is a very dangerous decision often they show it in anger, often they pull away, but it doesn’t mean they don’t love it means that they feel helpless and they don’t know what to do so all they do is stay away.
I went to Nebraska and saw them, first Frank, then Jodi and then the extended family. We had dinner together and I told them about Jodi, my sister-in-law, how she was living, how she was doing and it encouraged them to say “We love her” ‘We want to see her and talk to her.” “We want her to know we don’t judge her decisions.” I was able to share that with Jodi and she called them, and the healing begun.
I did not go back for my father-in-laws funeral for I was there just days before he died. I was able to see him, talk to him, pray with him. I talked to my sister-in-law Jodi she attended the funeral and she talked about how she reconnected with the family on her father’s side. How she began to understand how he could love her even though he was silent towards her this last year. She began to hope for the future. She began to see love from her family, She began to see what was torn apart be put back together.
The perfect story ending would be if I could say how I went in there and told my father-in-law how it should be, what he should be, and who he was being and he needed to correct it. If I told him he needed to forgive his daughter and he needed to give her that peace. He would ponder what I had said and he would call her and we would all come together and be there in that hospital room forgiving and loving, laughing and crying. It didn’t end that way. But it ended with peace, it ended with a family reuniting after my father-in-law passed away. It ended with hope.
And I believe it’s because I showed up and I showed love.