On Christmas Eve, the unthinkable happened. Dad had just left on a last minute trip, while Mom and I began a quick tidy of the house before my grandma and great-aunt arrived for a holiday meal. All was well. We had the soup in the roaster, desserts in the fridge and the kids were playing quietly in their room with Legos. It was a snapshot of Christmas cheer fit for Currier and Ives, modern edition. Until…disaster struck.
Plans can change, right? We all know this. And yet, when the idea crosses our minds that maybe, just maybe, God is changing the direction in which we are headed, we’re gripped with panic. “What do you mean, God? I thought we were going this way!”
Remiel is the traditional name for one of the angels. And for our family, that’s exactly what she was.
Remiel was given from God to our family, and entered our lives just as our dear sweet German Shepherd, Gabriel, was about to leave. After his passing, she became the beloved pup as her sweet personality helped alleviate our grieving. She played with the little ones, cuddled at a whim, would adore anyone who fed her for life.
Dear lady standing next to me at the public bathroom sink,
Yes, I have an issue, and it’s called OCD. The chemical misfires in my brain tell me that if I don’t wash my hands exactly as prescribed by professionals, my hands will be contaminated with all sorts of nastiness from touching the stall room doors– to the detriment and deterioration of my personal health.
Of course, you realize this too, that’s why you’re washing your hands. But you don’t do it with the same urgency, the same conviction, the same desperate scrubbing motions and the “Oh man, I lost count there, am I at two minutes or only one and half?”
What if my siblings had never existed? Would I even be here?
What if I had never met Phineas? Would I still have the appreciation I now have of other’s differences?
Do I agree with them all the time? Of course not. We are 15 separate human beings, of varying lives and faith. We each have our own story: one of how God got us to where we are now, whether we want to admit it or not. And now, our lives have met.
We have a tradition in our house. Clean-up after dinner is the teens’ job. So we do it to music. Loud music. Every night, until tidying is done, we can be found belting out tobyMac, Hawk Nelson, Skillet, Paul McCartney, and anything else that strikes us.
When I left it was difficult, there’s no way around that. But just how hard? Getting on the plane was just an act, but the good-byes were much more emotional. By getting on that plane, I left my family for three whole months.
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It’s hard to find good literature these days. The shelves of our libraries seem to be stocked with the same ten plots, retold by fifty different authors. The same characters run through our minds and we yearn for something new, something outside the norm. For those of us teens crazy enough to be careful about our choices, it’s even more difficult.
I think you are amazing. There are no doubts in my mind that you are the best dad I could ever DREAM of having. Ever since I was too little to really understand much, I have loved you and looked up to you. Some of my fondest memories of being little are of you driving me to preschool and belting out “Jet” at the top of my lungs, or heading to Lowe’s while “Tupelo” played in the background. And as I have grown, I can only love you more. You have been so much to me, from spiritual leader, counselor, father, adviser, and on and on. You have filled all these roles and more.