Sunday, June 16, 2024

Happy Father's Day! An Angel Message

(faded old photo of Dad and Me)

On Father's Day today, an old angel blog resurfaced by surprise.  I'm sharing it in memory of my wonderful father, Raymond, in heaven.
In 1971 my first husband and I were returning to Virginia after his military tour in Fairbanks, Alaska. We hadn't been home for two long years.  After a long drive cross-country, when we walked in the door, Dad was not there. Mom didn't want to worry us on the trip home, but Dad was very ill in a veteran's hospital in Maryland.  We went straight to the hospital with Mom.  He was so happy to see me when I walked into his room. It was the happiest day of his life, he hugged me.  My relationship had always been rocky with him, but our heart to heart reunion was healing that day on many levels.  I wrote him a long letter asking for forgiveness and thanking him for being my father. 
 A week later we learned Dad was in intensive care, and wasn't expected to live much longer.   I remember watching him lay in his hospital bed, hooked up to monitors, each heart beat beeping on the screen.   I wondered about my letter.  Had I waited too long to send it?  Dad died that night at the age of 56.

My heart dropped when a few weeks later, my unopened envelope returned, stamped deceased. More tears flooded from that blow than from his passing. Guilt gripped me.   Why had I waited so long to express my real feelings? I couldn't even talk about the letter without welling up.   Friends and family reassured me that my father knew I loved him.  It was ten years before I could talk about the undelivered letter without breaking down in tears.

On a brighter note, in 1999, I woke up on Father's Day before dawn. Eyes closed, I began thinking about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is strong in me. I let that powerful thought sink down deep in to my mind. The more I silently repeated The Holy Spirit is strong in me, the stronger the loving Presence became.

Then, to my surprise, my father's face appeared in my mind's eye.

It was so unexpected.

I began reflecting on his life. The gifts he had given me. Life. Creativity. Humor. There wasn't anything he couldn't do, if he really put his mind to it.  Fly a plane, build a brick patio, upholster furniture, restore an antique mummy case grandfather clock.   He was a journalist, military leader, computer systems analyst, and a free thinker.  Madison Avenue was a trap. He wasn't religious, but he believed God was a Supreme Being. When I was a child, he seemed to be an angry man. I didn't understand the war memories he hid deep within that earned him The Purple Heart.

After much reflection that morning, I found myself welling up. "I love you, Dad. I am glad that you were my Father. That I am the person I am. I thank you for all the gifts you gave me."

Then I remembered. It's Father's Day! 
So that's why I saw you.

My heart filled with peaceful gratitude. When my husband, Elliot woke up,  I shared what had happened. We talked about my father.  Dad had been frustrated by the times he lived in. An Aquarian, he was often misunderstood, fifty years ahead of his time.

What happened next caught me by surprise. 

A framed picture of Christ on my nightstand suddenly toppled over, and the table lamp came on.   Suddenly the dark bedroom was filled with light!

A rush of goosebumps brought fresh tears.

In that moment, Dad was with us. 

 "I know you're here, Dad. I love you!"

Then later my logical mind kicked in.  "Maybe the picture triggered the lamp switch when it fell down?" I wondered.

But Elliot had heard the lamp CLICK as it turned on.  He smiled. "Accept the gift."

I laughed... I can't think of a better gift.  Love is never-ending and extends beyond time and space.  Happy Father's Day!

Leave nothing unsaid.   Words matter.  Write to family and loved ones, let them know they are important to you.  
Happy Father's Day!

Rae Karen