My dad died on August 14th of this year. There’s not a day I don’t think about him and miss him in some way. I have found it interesting the things that bring waves of grief. It could be something as simple as reading a commentary he gave me or listening to an old phone message. Today it’s Monday Night Football.
One of my early memories of my relationship with dad and football surrounds a Monday Night Football game many years ago. It had to be in the late 70s. We were big Houston Oilers football fans. If my memory serves me correctly, Houston was playing the Miami Dolphins. I had to go to bed with the game in the balance. I couldn’t believe I had to go to bed and I’m sure I threw a fit or two trying to stay up past my bedtime. But to no avail. I had to go to bed and miss what I was sure to be a great game. As it turns out, it was a classic game. During the second half, my dad came into my room to wake me up and watch the rest of the game. Earl Campbell had a career game and dad wanted to make sure I didn’t miss the epic comeback and win. I’m sure it would have to be one of the most famous MNF games ever, and I got to see the ending with my dad. It was a good day. It’s a great memory.
Tonight the Denver Broncos play the Kansas City Chiefs. Most of the time I would have called dad to see what he thought about the game. We would both talk about how good Mahomes looks and would wonder together if Von Miller could do anything to slow him down. He would probably say how crazy it would be to kick to Terek Hill and I would agree and say something about Denver better be smart enough to kick away from him. I would say our only hope is how porous Kansas City’s defense is and dad would say something about how feeble Denver’s offense has been. In a year like this one, we would not spark a lot of hope between the two of us. We wouldn’t talk long and would leave our conversation open to the possibility of a great Bronco win but also resigned to the fact that they would probably get beat by 30. I would tell him about a bet I made with one of our high school kids, and he would laugh and tell me to send pictures when I had to pay up. We would tell each other how much we loved each other and that we would talk after the game. I am sure missing that phone call today.
My grief is a great reminder of how blessed I am and how much I love dad. Grief is an indicator of love. We never grieve what we don’t love. The more one grieves, the more one loved. Don’t despise grief. Though extremely hard, embrace your grief as a gauge of God’s immense love for you. I realize there are millions of people who would give anything to have a dad as great as mine for even a day. God gave me my dad for nearly 53 years. I wish it would have been a few more years. To know he’s with Christ and I’ll see him again is enough for me today. I think that is part of what Paul means when tells us to grieve with hope (1 Thes 4:13). I’ll miss him like crazy. Win or lose tonight, I’ll miss our phone conversations. Dad was starting to text. It would have been fun to text during tonight’s game.
Grief is a process. But I sure don’t want to stop grieving dad. It is a great reminder of how much he loved me, and how much I loved him, and even more of how exceedingly good and gracious God is to my family and me. I’ll talk to you later, Dad. Go Broncos!!