When I was 9, I was the female lead in my first play- it was THE play- the one that infected me with the acting bug. It was the Christmas play at our church and it was a pretty big deal. I was so excited, I memorized the entire play, not just my lines. I loved all the songs and tried my hardest to get the moves right for the dance numbers, but as my old VHS copy of the play proves, I am the only 9 year old who looks like she’s having a seizure while moving her arms in a circle along to a strange beat that no one else can hear.
Since I was the female lead, I had the high honor of having a musical solo towards the end of the play. The song was called, “Whisper a Prayer,” and it was about how close baby Jesus was to us- the three friends who were looking for the King- so close that we could have whispered a prayer and he’d have heard it.
Whisper a prayer, Jesus is there. He’s just a whisper away….
Now that I’m an adult, I have found a different truth to that song. Right now, I’m not in first century Bethlehem where I could be right around the corner from baby Jesus where he’d be so close to me that I could whisper a prayer and he could hear me. Right now, I’m an adult and am going through a rough patch in life and sometimes I’m not strong enough to verbalize my prayer. Sometimes all I can do is whisper my prayer through the tears and find comfort that He is still close enough to hear me.
I was going to tell y’all about my trip to Melbourne and the Australian Sheep and Wool Festival, but that’s a story for another time. This story starts on the morning of my birthday, which in Australia is always a day ahead of my US birthday.
I was startled awake with urgent texts and skype calls from my sister. At first I thought she was just really excited to remember my birthday was “today” rather than “tomorrow” her time. However, a happy birthday was not on the docket for me this year.
My dad was rushed to the hospital and was currently unconscious after telling my brother he “wasn’t feeling well” just a few hours earlier. I thought, “Oh dad. You’ll be ok. You’ve pulled through lots of things before and this will be no different.”
The news from my brother kept coming back, more and more negative. If he did wake up, he’d most likely lose the ability to move. He might be a vegetable. He wasn’t responding to treatments. He wasn’t going to make it past the next 24 hours.
Then, the news that no one is ever truly prepared for: He’s gone.
It happened so quickly and unexpectedly. My big strong daddy- the man who taught me to play basketball and how to drywall a house ,the man who promised to protect me if anyone ever tried to do anything to me, the man who couldn’t wait to get a tattoo of his first grandson’s name on the empty space on his arm- was gone.
It was 5 hours from the time I woke up to the time I was at the airport boarding the plane to New Mexico with Little Mister. It was another 2 days before I made it home. Travel from Australia is difficult, to say the least.
It’s been a whirlwind ever since. I volunteered to write his eulogy which was one of the most emotionally difficult things I’ve ever had to write. My dad loved to laugh so I had to include his humor in there, but the fact remains that I had to write about my dad in the past tense. How can this be?
It’s now been a week since his funeral and Little Mister and I are still Stateside so that I can hopefully get the ball rolling to ensure my grandmother is taken care of. She’s 92 and has survived all five of her sons. My daddy was the baby of the family. She’s not doing well and I’m sad to know she most likely won’t be around much longer, especially since I don’t think I’ll be able to make the trip back here when the time comes.
So, I’ve been whispering prayers. Whispering for strength through the travels alone with my now one year old son. Whispering for the words to pay homage to my dad when wrapping up a whole life in five minutes is next to impossible. Whispering for the wisdom to choose the right caretakers for my grandmother. Whispering for guidance in my now fatherless future.
Guys, I could really use some extra prayers to bolster my whispers. Especially in light of the long journey back home to Australia at the end of this week. I so wish my Mister could have come with us and I can’t wait to get back to him. I so wish that many things could be different right now.
I so wish my daddy was still here. I really miss him.