God's word in today's world

A moving story about going to bed angry and more …


(For the video referred to in the previous message “First a crumb, then the whole cookie”, click here.)

Following on “Boiling blood freezes love” I received this moving e-mail from Namakwaland. Go and get a cup of coffee or tea and make some time to read it. It touched my heart, and, yes, again I learnt a lot.

“Don’t go to bed angry”

I can write books about these five little words, not because I think I can or because I like to write, but because I know what it is like not to go to bed angry while you are still angry at someone.

For the rest of my life that bitter and hurtful experience made me think twice. I had just turned 15, an ignorant young girl, a walkabout child. My dad was strict, but loving, loved by the community, loved in church. My dad had this one rule that I found totally unacceptable and unreasonable … I had to sleep under his roof.

One evening the daredevil in me got out again and my friend and I made this very “clever” plan so that I could have a sleepover with her at her grandparents’ house. Our “clever” cleverly boomeranged, as they say, and my dad had to come and fetch me from my friend’s grandparents’ house that night.

My dad was so angry! I was VERY angry! All the way home, which was not very far, I told my dad, who I miss so very much today, how much I hated him, how I wished I never even had a dad … and probably many more terrible things that should never have come from my mouth … words he certainly did not deserve.

My dear precious dad did not say much. I really cannot remember, but I’m sure he would have assured me how much he loved me, but I was too angry to hear anything. I might have heard, but I did not listen. I went to bed angry.

I thought I was dreaming when I heard my mom’s awful screams coming from the back room. My older sister crept into my bed, saying we had to pray because Daddy had had a heart attack. The ambulance’s howling siren broke into my childish prayers and then nothing made sense.

I tried my best to fall asleep again so that everything could turn back the way it was before and so that I could believe everything was not true, only a cruel dream. But it was not a dream.

Within what felt like minutes my sister told me: “Daddy is dead”.

And I, I had gone to bed angry and never had the chance to say sorry.

Last year October I wrote this letter to my dad.

Dear Dad, Daddy, Pops … 31 years is a long time … I can’t even remember what I called you …

Today I want to talk to you, Dad, about all those things we never got a chance to talk about. Not because we didn’t want to, but because life cruelly hoodwinked us before we could do all that talking and all those other things that fathers and daughters do together.

When you’re in heaven I don’t think you can see all the things that happen here on earth, because then you would have been sad, you would’ve worried, you might have been disappointed by the things that Dad’s children (especially this little black sheep) were doing here on earth, and as the Great Book of Life tells us, in heaven there is only joy and happiness and no worries, so it’s probably better this way.

Dad won’t be able to receive or read letters either, but I still want to tell Dad what is going on in my heart and in my life. Dad would’ve understood.

I look at photos of myself and even though I sometimes mockingly say there must’ve been a mix-up in the hospital or that I must be adopted, I can see myself in dad. Our look is the first thing that I notice, a look that says we’ll make it, we’ll not let anything get the better of us, but a look of compassion as well that says we love our neighbor, that we care and understand. So, yes, I’m definitely Dad’s child.

Dad, I have a beautiful tall and slender boy. Dad would have been so proud of him, because he has claimed Dad’s lovely singing voice for himself and made it his own. I wish Dad could’ve helped me bring him up, because with this life dealt me another hard blow, all my own fault, and that is why I can’t complain.

His own father never wanted him or me and from his first cry we two had to walk the road alone. Today, I can look back proudly, but I would’ve done so much better with Dad’s help. My most beautiful green-eyed son is studying hard as I sit here writing.

I know he would’ve like to play rugby and cricket and ride a motorcycle like other boys, but there was no dad to take him by the hand and give him some encouragement where it was needed. As mom I tried, but I’m still a woman and these male things remain somewhat strange to me. But I know that despite all these things that he missed out on, he will proudly carry our family name into the future.

Life gave me a second chance and I fell in love with someone, Dad. One year ago he took hold of my whole heart with his strong hands and so much love. I believe you would have liked him. Best of all is that I now understand rugby a little better. My questions may be dumb and I may sometimes support the wrong team, but he is so patient with me.

Dad, I love him … he makes me laugh, he makes me happy, he tries to understand me and looks after me and the biggest bonus is certainly that he can braai. I still remember the Saturday evenings of my childhood around the braai outside our house. That and those watermelon eating days are printed in memory as if it was yesterday. I miss those days, Dad. I miss my dolls’ house and my peach tree where I could sit and sing for hours as if I didn’t have a care in the world.

I’m sorry that I wasn’t always a model daughter, sorry that I was so bad and disobedient that last night of Dad’s life with us here on earth, sorry for all that I did wrong. Thank you, Dad, that you forgave me, thank you for loving me with your whole heart. Dad, thank you for giving me only the best, and thank you for the best home and upbringing ever. I LOVE you, Dad.

Tomorrow is Dad’s birthday and I wonder whether the angels will be able to get 80 candles in time. I will go out when the moon and stars start showing their faces to see if there is an extra little flame somewhere in the night sky. Maybe I will be too sad to write tomorrow and that is why I’m saying happy birthday today and I will definitely toast you, Dad. Maybe I will softly sing you a birthday song, Dad. Maybe I will bake a cake and remember how you enjoyed life to the full in the short time you had.

Well, my dearest Dad, Daddy, Pops … goodbye for now – I will always miss you with a heart filled with love.

Scripture

Ephesians 4:17-32

Prayer

O God, please take us by the hand … Amen

 

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