November 25th, 2008

Bruce, Caroline

Thankful for the Pain

Society tells us that pain is a bad thing. There are drugs, hypnotic
techniques, therapy techniques, and more, to deal with all manner of
pain. The pain that can't be dealt with should be dealt with,
says society.

However, pain isn't all bad. The pain that tells a child that the stove
is hot and prevents her from touching it again is a good pain, for
example. I want to talk about an incredibly, acutely intense pain for
which I am truly grateful.

On May 3, 2001, I had to say goodbye to the most incredible mortal man
it has been my privilege thus far to know, my father. Dad had fought a
long, hard, and agonizing battle with a truly evil disease called Wegener's
. After intense suffering, Dad finally got his wish to
go home to be with Christ.

That left the rest of us, my amazing family: my mother, three brothers,
and their respective families, as well as Dad's own siblings.

The seven and a half years that have ensued have been incredibly painful
for me. I still find myself almost ready to pick up the phone to call
Dad and tell him about something I'd heard or thought of. I still find
myself often wishing I could seek out Dad's wise advice. I still miss
Dad enormously.

So if it's so painful, why am I thankful for that pain? Why feel
gratitude for the source of such misery?

I keep hearing of abusive fathers, of neglegent fathers, of indifferent
fathers. All too often, I've run into people who, truth be told, were
glad when their father passed on. I am thankful that I had a father who
earned, many times over, the right to be missed. Every pang of sorrow
represents the fact that, while Dad was here, I was blessed beyond
measure. And I still am, because I have my mom, my brothers. They're all
just a phone call away.

I didn't celebrate Dad's death, and in my mind, every time I miss my
dad, it is a celebration of a life worth missing.