Several years ago, my father began to suffer from Sarcoidosis & Pneumothorax. There is no cure for his condition and as I write this, his lungs are deteriorating rapidly. I remember just a few years back rushing to Puerto Rico after my father was hospitalized for the first time. I had some good times with papi (as we lovingly call him) at the hospital; sharing stories from our childhoods repectively. I had the honor of praying with him and reading the word to him in order to help calm his nerves and anxiety. I treasure those moments; they were very special. That day, it occurred to me that it had been a long time since we had talked about his conversion to Christ. It had been years since we’ve had a long conversation, mainly because we see each other once a year, but this time, I thought we should revisit the story one more time.
When he was discharged from the hospital upon improvement, I stayed with him alone in the house while my mother and sisters went grocery shopping. That night, we had one of the most memorable and special father and daughter moments ever. I asked him then to share the story of his conversion again. I noticed at first he was taken a back by my request but I could see a spark in his eyes as he began to share. Something unique and powerful took place while he was sharing; his eyes began to tear up and it was as if he was remembering things he had never shared before. Before long we were both crying and thanking God for the miracles we had experienced back then and since then.
I’ve never felt closer to my dad as I did that night. I guess I had never truly understood the magnitude of God’s plan to save my family and it moved me deeply. What a beautiful legacy! Every time I remember how it all happened, I can feel my eyes swell up with tears and my heart elate with humble love for a God who knew our journey before we could even understand it ourselves. What mountains he moved out of the way, and what special care he took just to rescue a lost soul in order that he should lead his family in a different direction for a greater purpose.
I encouraged my dad to share his story with others because there is something beautiful about testifying when our lives seem to be at a crossroads. Life is fragile and our accolades quickly fade away, however, our stories live on. I have made it a point in my life to share my dad’s story with as many people as I meet, not because I want to exalt the man, but because God is glorified through the tangible miracle that is my father’s life.
I would love for my father to live to be a hundred years or more. In all honesty, I would like him to out lived me, so I won’t have to say goodbye, but I have no control over that, and besides it isn’t for me to decide on eternal matters. I tell you this though, the best picture memory he’ll leave behind, at least for me, will always be that Sunday morning when he surprised his wife and little girls by walking with them to church and then giving his heart to the Lord during Sunday School. No lie; to this day, that walk through our neightborhood on our way to church, is an image that is forever imprinted in my heart. That was the moment everything changed for my family; the moment we truly began living. What a beautiful journey it has been!