If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control! We are, to be sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out.
— Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
There are two memories I’d like to share with you today, and they both concern my dad. I’ll try to be brief, so you don’t fall asleep. My dad was a difficult person to live with. He was abusive to me verbally, emotionally, and I’m told physically, though I don’t remember the physical part. I’ve always prescribed to the belief that we do the best we can with the knowledge we have at the time. My dad’s father was also abusive; so that’s what he knew. And he didn’t yet know Jesus Christ, the ultimate Healer and binder of wounds.
On March 5, 1997, I prayed for Jesus to come into my heart and make it His dwelling place. That was remarkable on so many levels, but it’s not even the most remarkable event. Almost exactly six months to the day after I received Christ, my father prayed with me and I gave him his own large print Bible. He was 77 years old, and had Alzheimer’s for four years already, but this was a divinely appointed lucid moment when we prayed. I know I will see my dad in heaven when I die.
The other significant memory is three days before he passed on, which was December 14, 2000. All my family (I have five brothers and one sister) was gathered home from various parts of the states to be with Dad and say their goodbyes. We were keeping him home with hospice care.
Anyway, for some reason (divine appointment?) Dad and I had a rare moment alone. He turned to me, eyes quite lucid, remarkably so, and said, “I hope you don’t hate me for the rest of your life.”
I knew as clear as day he was asking for forgiveness. I didn’t even hesitate.
“No worries, Dad,” I said, “I love you.”