Family

100 Things Before I Die: #7

I’ve spent a couple of days looking at my list and pondering what I want to put next. When I first created my list of 100 Things I want to do Before I Die, it didn’t matter so much what order I put the items in. Now, for some reason I don’t fully understand, the order matters. It matters a lot. So I’ve been scanning the list, closing the file, thinking, opening it up again, scanning it, closing it . . . you get the drift, I’m sure. 

I finally decided that Pay my parents back must come next. 

The thing about this goal is that, on the surface, it seems impossible. My dad is gone. I can’t physically pay him back for anything — not for the money they’ve loaned me over the years, for the bailouts, for the support, for the advice. I can’t pay him back for the time he beat up a guy less than half his age the year he turned 65. The guy in question was 29 and was trying to steal my washer and dryer. Dad didn’t allow that to happen. 

When I placed the 9-1-1 call, I thought the idiot was going to hurt my dad. By the time the operator answered, I was worried that Dad would hurt him. I’ll confess, I wasn’t exactly worried about the guy’s well-being. He was a drug-head alcoholic fighting with an “old man” wearing nothing but a pair of tighty-whiteys. He had a bong on the mantle and the bag of weed on the coffee table. My real concern was just keeping Dad out of jail. Not only was dad a senior citizen, he also had cancer at the time. We just didn’t know it yet.  

Dad died 4 years ago of congestive heart failure, just a couple of weeks after Abigail was born. He never got to see her in this lifetime. They were in separate hospitals about 25 miles apart. 

But my mom’s still here, and I’m so grateful that she is! I love my mom. I miss my mom. She’s planning to visit me in April, and I’m really excited about that. 

Of course, I know that paying my mom back now will be paying my dad back. The day he died, he gathered the three of us around his bed and went over–one more time–all the financial arrangements he’d made to make sure Mom would be taken care of after he was gone. He didn’t need to do that. He’d gone over those details so often, I could have recited them in my sleep. He was the kind of guy who took his role as the family provider seriously. So even if he’s not here to see another dime of the money I owe them, I know that he’ll know when mom gets it. 

Before I can accomplish this goal, I first have to climb out of this financial hole that, despite everything, seems to be getting deeper by the day. No amount of prayer, no amount of fasting, no amount of tithing, no amount of service, no number of hours spent writing and teaching is making an improvement. Just when it seems like maybe things are looking up, the bottom falls out again. 

At this point, I can only keep praying that some day I’ll be able to meet my basic needs: little things, like keeping a roof over my head, keeping the utilities on, and putting food on the table, and then have a few dollars extra to send my mom. It’s something I pray for. It’s something I’ll keep praying for. Because I’d really like to accomplish this one while one of my parents is still around to receive it. 

I don’t understand this particular journey God has me on, but I’m staying positive and grateful for all of the blessings He has given me. In some strange way, I can honestly even say that this current very difficult situation is a blessing. I don’t know how it’s going to bless me yet, but I do know that it will. Some day.  

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