Painful grace

My father died 8 years ago from a stroke. It’s not a memory that often brings me to tears but it did the other day. It brought me a profound sense of loss and of missing my Father.

Once the pain had subsided though I was able to discern the most wonderful grace from that moment. At first I was thinking “this is too painful. I don’t want to remember this”. Then it dawned on me that to remember the pain of his loss is to remember the joy of his life.

Whereas I first felt the loss that my father never saw me (his youngest son) move out on his own; never met my wife, and won’t see me graduate from university (first in my immediate family). As painful as these memories are, they are contrasted by the knowledge that the pain is reminding me of all I did have:

* I knew who my father was – many never do;
* my father loved me and tried his best to raise his sons to be good men;
* my father was a good role model who worked hard in a job he didn’t enjoy so he could provide for his family; and
* it reminded me that I loved my Father and not everyone can say that.

So, yes it was painful to remember the loss but it also reminded me that God’s grace is present in the pain and it can help me focus on what I had and not what I lost.

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