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Soaking in the Moment with Dad

The hardest thing in the world, and maybe the easiest thing, is to simply be present where you are.

Some lessons in prayer are hard for me to come by but this one, in a spiritual practice, came from just sitting with Dad.

I flew out to California for a long weekend to see my family but especially to visit with Dad. After a stint at the hospital he’s back at the Health Center at Monte Vista Groves and I was happy to see that Bible verse right at the front door, “I was sick and you visited me.”

He looked pretty good, weak, but sitting up in his wheelchair in the lunchroom with his compatriots: Willie who always remembers my name, Allen the theologian, gracious Lucille, Paul who always asks me, “What class were you in high school?”

“Let’s go outside,” I said to Dad. I pushed him in his wheelchair out the door into the brilliant sunshine. I’d driven his 1990 Chrysler convertible and I thought he might want to see it so we sat in a bench nearby. “There’s your car, Dad, and here’s your hat when you drove it. Remember that?”

But he didn’t really feel like remembering things from the past or giving me wisdom on the future. His mind was focused on the day before him. “There’s a truck unloading,” he pointed out to me. “I like that statue,” he observed. “There’s not a breeze blowing,” he said looking at the tree. It reminded me a bit of sitting with my boys when they were young, watching a dump truck or catching a ladybug. All that mattered was the moment we were in.

This is why I’m here, I thought to myself, not to give my time to Dad but to get his quiet sense of time. The hardest thing in the world, and maybe the easiest thing, is to simply be present where you are—to enjoy the day was Dad’s prayer, and a good one.

I threw his hat back into the open convertible and we went in for lunch.

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