As some of you know on Monday I made a very quick last minute trip to GA to handle some Medicaid business for my dad. His steady decline associated with dementia and cirrhosis meant he needs the end of life care only a nursing home can provide. The trip was about as exciting as it sounds- long meetings with nice people involving lots of mind-numbing paperwork.
Many of you know I grew up in a tight knit family and enjoyed an especially close relationship to my Dad. Much in our relationship changed during the past seventeen years as a wedge developed between me and him-the combined effect of affairs and alcoholism. Over this past decade I’ve watched the weight of regret and guilt slowly crush my dad. Although I told my dad many times I love him and forgive him, a palpable tension continued between us. This wedge, the tension, and his spiraling spiritual, emotional, and physical decline has proven to be one of the greatest pains of my life. I’ve seen firsthand you can choose to love someone, you can choose to forgive, but true reconciliation can never be forced.
Yesterday after completing business with the nursing home case manager, I walked to my dad’s room to spend a couple of hours with him. He’s a shell of his former self- weakened, bound to a wheel chair, and fighting the mental fog to focus. Yet this meeting was different. This meeting was unexpectedly very different. Somehow after all these years the real conversation we both needed happened. The details of our conversation are best left between a father and his son but I exited down the hallway with a new found sense of peace knowing true reconciliation has taken place.It was a strange thing this morning to find myself weeping in the midst of strangers sitting at Atlanta airport terminal D. I was silently meditating, praying, and listening to music in when I heard the subtle yet clear voice of God’s Holy Spirit: “Just in case you missed it- this trip wasn’t about Medicaid or medical care. This trip was all about me giving you the reconciliation you’ve longed for.” I’ve taught for many years that the Good News of Jesus is primarily about God reconciling messed up people to Himself through Jesus and secondarily about God reconciling us as messed up people to each other. What a blessing to experience this Good News once again- this time in one of the most valuable relationships in my life. Thank you Jesus!
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19