Hello Dear Friends,
It has been a while since I have written anything. Honestly, my life has been going full speed ahead, and a lot has happened. This past Friday, my sweet Papa was laid to rest after being sick for the past month. Everyone who knows me knows the profound love I had for my Papa. He was the man who raised me as my father. God using him in my life is why I am who I am today. He taught me so much and sacrificed a great deal to take care of me. My grandparents also sent me to college. For that, I will forever be grateful. The Lord blessed him to live 89 years. I thank God for me being able to spend my 45 years with him. He was always an active part of not only my life but the lives of my three children. Even in his old age, he was still a very present figure in our lives and was very intentional about it. Being a part of all of our lives was indeed a joy of his. So, believe me when I say his loss has impacted our family.
My grandfather’s life started tough. He lost his parents as a young child, had to live with his grandparents, and started working very early to take care of himself. So, he never finished school. Yet, he was very adamant about us getting an education. He was the one who took me to the library for assignments and made sure I was at every school or community event. Although he received very little formal education, he made it his responsibility to ensure that I was not only educated but excelled academically. He worked in construction my entire childhood and met our needs. His sacrifices fueled my ambition and motivated me to do my best at everything I set out to accomplish. I am sure there were things he desired to do with his life, but instead, he chose to take care of not only his children but his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He and my grandmother raised three generations under their roof. Although they were not perfect, I believe they did well with what God gave them.
Ultimately, my heart is broken by his loss. Yet, I can’t help but praise God for my Papa’s life. He lived a blessed life. He was tough on us, but I knew it was because he loved us. I also knew he had battles he was fighting as we all do. So, he didn’t always make the best choices or say all the right words. Despite his struggles, one thing remained the same, his love for children. Because of it, he would do whatever he could to make sure any child was taken care of and protected. As the years progressed, I saw the hand of the Lord changing and working on his heart. The more time passed, the sweeter he became. I started calling him, “Suga”, because the older he got, the more I could see the gentleness and deep love that comes from growing in the Lord.
It was evident that he knew God and that God knew him. Amid his inner turmoil, he never neglected to tell God, “Thank You”. Sometimes, I would listen to him through the kitchen window because I would hear him talking to himself while working in the yard. To my surprise, he would be talking to the Lord. He knew that it was only by the grace and mercy of God that he was still in the land of the living after all these years.
While he was sick, I would sit and watch him when he wasn’t communicating with us. There were times when he would have a fixed gaze upward. I would often wonder what he was looking at. I believe that he was looking to where his help came from because I could feel the peace of God upon him. One day, his cousin came to visit. She told him that God was taking care of him. He stared intensely into her eyes and smiled with a confidence that was evident that he knew her words were the truth. Papa had accepted the Lord’s will for his life; he knew The Good Father. It was well with his soul. He knew the Lord had kept him. He knew that he didn’t want for anything because his soul had a Shepherd that supplied everything he needed, who had walked with him through many valleys and had taken him over many mountains.
Although this is a tough time, I can’t help but rejoice about all the wisdom he shared with us and the lessons he taught us. I can’t help but smile when I think of all of his sarcastic remarks and witty comebacks. He was one of a kind, a character, and rare. His transparency was admirable because he was honest and shared his mistakes with us so we would learn from them. Even though he didn’t tell us he loved us, it was evident in his care for us. He would always say, “Thank you for all you do.” I would reply, “No, thank you. I can do what I do because of all you did for me”. It was true. He laid the foundation. Now, it is our job to continue to build upon it. He showed us how a father loves and provides for his family. He showed us how a father chastens those he loves. He showed us that real love is sacrificial and covers us in all things.
So, I say,” Thank you, Sweet Papa. Take your rest with the Heavenly Father. You did your job well.”