The door opened. Footsteps echoed down the basement hall to my high school classroom. The world seemed to shift on its axis, and an oppressive feeling swept over me. Voices faded, and I sensed my life forever changed.
Then I understood. Daddy died.
When the future crashes, and we feel alone, and overwhelmed, we wonder how to survive? Watch for a glimmer of hope to stream through your open door.
After tests at a medical clinic four years ago, the doctor told my dad, who was a pastor, “You have nephritis, a kidney ailment.” In those days—before dialysis and kidney transplants—the treatment was complete bed rest, in hope his kidneys would heal. The rules were clear: “Stay off your feet, and no salt or sodium.” Our family dynamics changed. As his caregiver, Mom climbed the stairs countless times every day.
The two-year complete bed-rest-treatment failed. Dad’s kidneys did not heal. The clinic doctor told our parents, “Move to a dry climate and you may survive one more year.” My sisters and I were unaware of the doctor’s warning, and we believed he would recover.
Dad asked our church, “Please pray. Ask God to open one door.” We moved to New Mexico, after the Lord answered those prayers, and Dad became pastor of a tiny national mission church. We lived there for two years and four months.
The footsteps entered our classroom, as I gathered my books and coat. The office girl gave the teacher a note. He read it, looked at me in surprise, and gave me the note. “Marilyn, come now.”
Mom stood in the hall. She had just left the hospital. She hugged me. “He’s gone.” That was all she could utter. At the car, her sister and Dad’s mom waited. We climbed in, picked up my sisters from school, and drove in silence to our empty house.
People brought food, and love. The night before the funeral, I slept on the couch, and the sweet aroma of an Easter lily flooded the room. Whenever I smell those sweet flowers, I recall that night on the couch, and I miss my Daddy.
Through the confusion with friends and family, I stepped through the kitchen door, and sank on the garage step to cry alone. Daddy was no longer physically with us. He had stepped through heaven’s door. Yet, as I sat there I sensed God’s presence.
Then another door opened and Jesus seemed to whisper to me, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you,” (John 14:18 NIV). His promise was real, and my life could continue. I would choose to survive and live my life in the presence of Jesus.