Monday, February 11, 2013

What I Am Losing But Continue To Hang On To

Today, I was looking at old photos. This is one of my favorites:

The photo struck at that term "faith."
Sometimes, faith seems to fade. Like it did when I was a teen trudging through confirmation full of doubts.
Like it did when I was in college learning about that great big world - and a world of big ideas - outside of my hometown in Iowa.
Like it did when I saw my mom's health grow worse over the years.
Like it did when I got divorced after 6-1/2 years of marriage. And like it did when my ex-wife moved to Sweden with my son more than 2 years ago.
And like it has as my dad's health is compromised by a failing liver - a failing liver that also is compounded by the early stages of failing kidneys. He found out about that issue this month, just as his placement on the list for a liver transplant was secured.
Is there time? Time for my dad to get the treatment he needs? Time for him to know that my brother and I have appreciated all that he has sacrificed for us? Time for him to see his grandsons before they grow older, unrecognizable and into adults?
I'll never know. But the adage "You've got to have faith" came to mind.
"You've got to have faith"? No, I don't. Why should I? After what's happening now and in my past? Why would you? Why should you?
Because, sometimes, it's all you have.
My dad will get a transplant within six months, which, judging by what surgeons are telling him, is the average wait for the procedure. After having it, he will see my son and my brother's sons. And it may be for the last time.
And he will improve after having the transplant. He will be able to spend more time with my mom, and his wife of 44 years as of Feb. 22, 2013.
He will know that my brother and I love and respect him. And thank him for showing us what strength is.
Then again, maybe not.
I started working at The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society in 2012. It's a not-for-profit organization that serves those ranging from assisted living to hospice care. My parents are moving into an independent living facility on the edge of Iowa City in early April. It's not a Good Samaritan property, but it is a place where they can feel valued and at peace.
It's comforting to know. And, along with the culture and environment tied to my work at the Good Samaritan Society, it's one of those mileposts in life that beg you to look inward, assess where you are and where you are going in life, and reevaluate faith.
Because, again, sometimes it's all you have.

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