Scripture Reading: Acts 9: 1-6, 7-20 – What are the ways you have heard God’s call in your life? How has that call affected you and those around you?
A little over three years ago my 92-year-old father came to live with my husband and me. It became a time of varied experiences with many emotional ups and downs. It was a time of learning and re-examining what my faith really meant to me, and how I lived it out. My daily mantra became a call to God inviting him to travel with me on a road that had many inclines, curves and detours.
Dad was a native of Iowa, born and bred there, but realized his wheelchair had become his constant and he needed the companionship of people who could help him. So a new journey for a man who lived with independence and tenacious personal convictions became his reality.
He quickly developed a love for Clinton County and was pleased with her beauty as well as with those who farmed the land. He admired the work ethic of those he met as well as the spirit of a strong community.
My dad was one of those guys from the “greatest generation” and served his country in World War II in the Pacific Conflict. He hitchhiked from Iowa to San Diego and enlisted in the Navy after having an altercation with his father. I don’t think that altercation in my dad’s life ever ended – for conflict was a big part of his personality.
My dad was huge in my life and I had a deep love for him even though I saw and experienced the deep pain he caused others. He did not have the ability to look within and then resolve it — maybe the pain was just too great!
I wonder about this trait in my own life and ask myself how I deal with the differences that come alongside me on my journey. Am I a bully, do I manipulate, lie or cause emotional damage to get my way, or do I seek the greater good of all involved? On my good days I seek God’s help to become a bridge, not to be walked on but to offer the gift of God’s mercy to those on both sides, a place of hope and reconciliation – a place of healing.
My dad might see this as a road to weakness, but then I was the one who offered him a place of refuge — to live with us in a home where the building of a community is our daily prayer. I have discovered seeking God’s face in the daily requires a huge amount of reserve and strength.
Saul and Ananias were both on their own path – then God spoke and they listened. My father’s final earthly path led to our home, a place where he found love and compassion.
It became a place of deep sacred discovery for all of us – a place where scales fell off not only from our eyes but our hearts.
Pastor Nancy McCormick pastors along with her husband, Michael, at Chester and Springfield Friends Meeting.