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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Friday, June 19, 2015

MEMORIES OF MY FATHER

 


SAYING GOODBYE

       by Bobbe Van Hise
        Written March 2010

"Just minutes ago (December 11, 2001) we received the call; he was gone they said. It shouldn't have been a surprise, but it was. Not today, or tomorrow, not yet. As my husband and I arrived in the parking lot, I was opening the door before the car came to a full stop. I ran toward the nursing facility where my dad had been for several weeks. He had fallen and broken his pelvis while reaching out to keep someone else from falling. It was not surprising to me that one of his last acts was one of kindness.

I ran through the hallway to his room. I wanted to kiss a warm forehead and cheek. I wanted to hold my dad's big warm hand one more time. I didn't want him to slip into coldness. He was just shy of his 89th birthday, and I came to say goodbye."

This is my favorite photo of my dad and me taken before I was a year old in front of the apartment building where we lived in Minneapolis, MN. There seldom is a week that passes, even though he's been gone for many years now, that I don't think of my dad and miss him. He was honest, fair, loving, loyal, responsible, and smart. The best.

Robert Harry Hedin was born on a cold winter day in Chicago, January 18, 1913. His parents, Harry and Ruby, both first generation Swedes, were eighteen years old. They had met in a Lutheran Confirmation class in 1909 when they were fourteen. After my dad was born they lived with my grandma's parents at 3015 Seminary Ave. My dad's grandfather was a cobbler and was able to provide for the family. Very few had much money in those days; everyone just got by. It wasn't until my dad was eight years old that his parents could afford an apartment of their own. A lack of material belongings didn't keep them from having a good time; they found a way. My dad told me once that "everyone was poor". . .and so it was.

Grandpa Harry got a job with Cadillac. He was such a good man. He had a tough life, his father left the family and he helped his mother support his younger brother and sister but he always had a sense of humor and never complained. My dad was born the year that Wrigley Stadium was built and he spent many hours watching the Chicago Cubs play ball. After the games, he stayed to help clean up the mess and got a free ticket to the next game.

They had family, friends, enough food, shelter and lots of love. It was a good life. My dad was very bright and was able to go to a special high school, Lane, for college preparatory students. He rode the 'el', elevated train, for four years back and forth to high school, and another four years to college, Armour College of Engineering (now ITT) where he earned a degree in engineering. He lived at home with his folks until he graduated. He was told he could stay in school as long as his father didn't lose his job - he didn't, in fact Grandpa Harry had a thirty-five year career with GM - Cadillac.

My dad remembers getting only one spanking. He'd hitched his sled to the ice truck one icy-snowy day to get a ride down the street. This was dangerous and absolutely forbidden. My grandpa came home from work early that day and caught him. He learned that behavior has consequences.

After graduating from college, my dad worked in Ohio, then took a job in Minneapolis. He moved into a boarding house where he met my mother. They were married in 1939. When I was about a year old, he took a job in Chicago, and then was transferred to Los Angeles when I was five.

My parents bought their first home in Whittier. I have memories of my dad tying a small tree he had planted to a stake so my cat Boots wouldn't knock it down. That tiny tree almost took over our small backyard. The root system spread under the patio and the tree needed to be removed. My dad remembered how he had nurtured and protected it and was sorry it needed to be removed. This is what fathers, and mothers, do for their children, nurture and protect them until they can stand on their own.

"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live a long life in the land the Lord your God is giving you." Exodus 20:12

This is the only one of the Ten Commandments that has a promise connected with it. The Hebrew word for 'honour' is kabed and implies more than simply being tolerant which is what we sometimes do, tolerate our parents. The Hebrew word is to 'make weighty', give importance, glorify and promote.

I know not all fathers, or mothers are worthy in our estimation. You didn't choose your parents, God did. He had a reason and purpose for choosing them. Not all children grow up appreciating the life they've been given, sacrifices made, the love, protection and nurturing it takes to grow a child. This is a far from perfect world and some children feel cheated by poor parenting. We're all frail and imperfect; we all need a Savior to make us whole. God picked the father - son relationship to make us aware that this is a natural strong bond of great importance. Jesus could have come to earth as a 'brother', 'uncle', 'friend'. . .but God called Him His Son. Jesus claimed in John 10:30 that "the Father and I are one." Could there be a closer relationship than this?

Children are anxious for validation and approval from their parents. Often they don't realize parents would love also to hear these words spoken, "Good job, I'm proud of you, you did a good thing." Those who demean their folks usually wind up making themselves look bad, not their parents.

Probably one of the best things a father can do for his children is to love their mother. The love and caring my dad showed my mother gave me a feeling of security and that all was 'right' with the world.

The first time I took off with my teen-age date behind the wheel of a car, my dad ran up the driveway and shouted, "You have a precious cargo there!" Embarrassed, yes, but even then, at fifteen, I realized it was a good thing to let this young man know that he should take good care of me.

When my dad was in his late 70's he had extensive heart surgery. They were trying to waken him from the heavy sedation. My mother leaned over him and asked, "Do you know who I am?" My dad's eyes fluttered open, he looked at her and said, "You're the one who's used to me." We knew he'd be okay and were amused by the words he used. He couldn't think of words like, 'my wife' or her name, or even 'mother' which he sometimes called her. . ."the one who's used to me" - perfect description we thought - they'd been married over fifty years.

It was a chilly winter evening in January, 1971 when I heard the doorbell ring about 8:30 at night. I'd just tucked in my three very young children. The events of the past few weeks had left me numb, alone, fearful. I desperately needed to be comforted. God didn't appear to me, but He sent my dad. There he stood on my doorstep and said, "I couldn't think of you by yourself." He could come to me because I was vulnerable, honest and able to share what was happening in my life. Grown children who can't, or won't, do that often feel 'left out', their needs go unfulfilled. And, just like with the Lord, there isn't a 'to-do' list to make us presentable or worthy, we just come and stand before our heavenly Father with all our mess and baggage.

Hebrews 12 has some interesting facts about fathers. This passage, verses 7 - 11 states our human fathers "disciplined us and we respected them for it." It says our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; "but God disciplines us for our good that we may share in his holiness."

When we set about to become parents, we seldom think that God's purpose might be to make us holy, rather than happy. But just as with marriage, the end result is to be brought into 'holiness' through grace, supplied totally by God.

I wish you dads a nice 'Father's Day' and please remember how important you are and the awesome task the Lord has assigned you; it never is over, it never ends.

Thank you Lord, You truly have beautified my life - I live, breathe and have my very being in You...Acts 17:28