"I Wuv You"
(By Sharon Bryant - choklite@bellsouth.net)

6-18-2009 Church Within SOW Seeds Service - Story #544

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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome again to Church Within's Story of the Week ["SOW Seeds”].

This week's SOW Seeds Story, contributed by: Patije

Story of the Week
“I Wuv You”
(By Sharon Bryant - choklite@bellsouth.net)

I've thought about writing this for several days now. I thought about how I'd begin. I've thought about how I would end it. I thought, "How should I begin this with my first sentence? `Ladies and Gentlemen' or `Once Upon a Time?' Maybe `To Whom It May Concern?' I've decided against all those. I will write what I feel and what I am thinking tonight as I type these words.

Dear God,

In 1946, on a cold, snowy day in January, You brought a life into this world. That was me. Maybe I haven't told You enough times how happy I am that You sent me into this world and gave me the parents I had. You sent me to a beautiful woman with auburn-colored hair and beautiful green eyes. She was short, but she was spunky.

You sent me to a wonderful man, who had wavy, dark-brown hair and beautiful brown eyes. I always thought he was the best-looking man I had ever seen in my life. Thank you for sending me to the parents I had.

You see, God, I've been having some problems lately. I miss both my parents, but losing dad was so hard. When mom died in '82 of cancer, dad was all my siblings and I had left. I felt so bad when mom died. There I was with a little baby and a two-year-old. I wanted them to always know their grandmother. I wanted them to have the relationship with my parents that I had with my mom's and dad's parents. I didn't get that. Instead, I had to tell my children stories of my childhood, growing up with their grandmother. I had to keep her alive in their heads, even though they were too young to remember her.

On the other hand, dad was able to stay on earth longer. Every chance he had, he told my kids a story about my life when I was a child. My kids loved hearing stories like that. I was so glad they had several years with one grandparent.

I remember dad's favorite words to me as I was growing up: "Listen up gal." Whenever he said that, I knew I was about to learn something new. I couldn't get enough knowledge. I listened to every word he ever told me.

Even as a young teen, he would always tell me to be me. He said to never try to be something else, just be me. And to protect me, he told me to never depend on anyone but myself. "Don't depend on some Knight in shining armor to come riding along on a white horse," he would say. "That Knight can run off in the middle of the night, and if you don't have something to lean on, something to survive on, life will be hard."

When my so-called Knight found another Maiden and hiked off in the middle of the night with his pregnant friend, dad told me, "This is what I always warned you about. He wasn't worth it, get past this and get on with your life. You have your whole life ahead of you."

Dad had never been divorced. He didn't know how that felt. If he saw me down, he'd say something to brighten my day and lift me back up. "Chin up gal, there's plenty of fish in the sea, something will come along, and you'll find much better than you had."

He was right. When I brought the present "fish" home, dad liked him immediately. "Now there's a guy who will work with you, who's not lazy, and you'll get somewhere in life with this one." He was right. Dad loved him as much as he did me, I think.

Dad was always there. I don't care how tired he was, how little time he had for himself, if I came up with something, he would listen. "That's not a bad idea," he'd say. "Let's try it."

I remember the year I was ten-years-old, and he said after dinner one night, "Would you like to go to the theater with me next Friday? I can get us tickets to see the play, "Bye-bye Birdie." He said we'd be getting home late. I think that's why I went. I wanted to go to school on Monday and tell everyone I got to stay up really late Friday night. We went, and we laughed our heads off, but I was one tired kid on the way home from that play.

When I was eighteen and just graduated, I wanted to join the Peace Corp. Dad said, "NO!"

"Why not?" I asked him.

"Because I don't want you going out of the country, that's why." he said. "I want you to be my secretary and do my books and payroll and learn how to take care of a business." I was running his whole office very well that summer.

I couldn't have asked for a more caring father than you gave me, God. I couldn't have asked for a more handsome one. I couldn't have found anyone else who loved me as much as he did. Mom used to say, "You're your father's right hand. You can do things I wasn't interested in. Dad's proud of you, and so am I." Words like that just pushed me more to do my very best.

Last year, when I drove the 900 miles to see dad, I saw him aging. He still had that twinkle in his eye, but I noticed it bothered him to climb stairs. I saw him favoring one foot. I asked if he was OK, and he said, "I'm fine. I'm just getting old." That's when I began to worry. I was afraid the day would come when I wouldn't be able to pick up my phone and call him anymore.

In January, when something told me to go see him, I couldn't get there fast enough. Something kept nagging at me, and I listened to the feeling. Was that you, God? Were you letting me know I needed to see dad just then?

As long as I live, I will never forget what happened. It was my birthday week. I had spent almost three full days with dad and was on my way back home. By some miracle that rarely happens, the four of us, my brother, sister, dad and I were together. I took several photos. Something told me to. I knew. In my heart, I knew I'd never see dad again. That's why, when we were all saying good-bye, I put my arms around his neck, hugged him, gave him a big kiss on the cheek and said, "I wuv you dad."

He gave me that raised eyebrow look with that twinkle in his eye, looked at me and said, "Oh yeah!"

When the radio/phone chirped while we were on the freeway, going through Indianapolis, I saw my sister's name on the screen. But when I heard the voice on the other end, I knew. I knew dad was gone. I went numb. And again, that feeling of a fist jamming my heart hit me again. Like it felt the day my son died, the day mom died, the day my brother died. And then... dad.

God, It's Father's Day this coming Sunday. For the first time in 60 years, I don't have a father here on earth to buy a gift for. I don't get to make cute cards for him, like I always did. What am I going to do, God? How will I get through the day?

Would you tell him I love him? Would you let him know that, though I can't see him or hear his voice, my love has never lessened any? Would you tell him every single night since that day in January of this year, I sleep with his shirt on my pillow? Would you tell him that I'll be coming, too, I'm just not sure when.

Thank you, God, for listening to me and for giving me the man you did as my dad on earth. Just let him know I am living the way he always wanted me to. I am doing the work he always hoped I would. And let him know that, on this Father's Day, I will hug his photo and kiss it and whisper, "Dad, I wuv you."

Pastor's Quote of the Week
We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.

(From: J.K. Rowling - Prof. Dumbledore “Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire” )

The Prayer
Dear God,        
        Thank You for being my Father! I want to be just like you when I grow up!!!

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Eternal Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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