For me, October 26, 1982 is one of those days. Even though 30 years have gone by — I still remember aspects of that day very distinctly.
It was a Tuesday. I was a senior in high school. It was homecoming week. My future was hopeful.
And then it happened. At lunch that day I was summoned to the office with a little yellow slip of paper. Nothing seemed unusual about that. I certainly hadn’t done anything that would make a trip to the school office of any concern.
Then I looked at the paper more closely. It wasn’t the school office but another office on campus. I turned around and headed up the stairs to the second floor offices.
When I walked in the room – I knew that something was immediately wrong. Everything started moving in slow motion.
I saw one of my teachers, the school principal, another administrator, and the pastor and an elder from a church where my dad had pastored years before.
I was invited to sit down. There in that small room I was told that my dad had died that morning from a heart attack.
As I write those words on the page, my mind is flooded with the memories and emotions of that very moment.
Questions. How? Why? Where?
I don’t get it. I don’t understand.
He was on a business trip in Colorado with my mom and was planning to be home on Friday to watch me play football in the homecoming game on Saturday.
And then – Peace. Peace like I can’t explain. Peace that goes beyond understanding. Peace that only God could provide.
And now – 30 years have gone by. 30 years without my dad. 30 years of looking to other men to speak into my life in the ways that he had up until that point.
I sill have questions without answers.
And yet, I still have peace.
I know that God is in control. I’m certainly not. I can trust Him.
I’ve reflected over and over and over on that day. For awhile I wished that day had never happened.
Now I understand that God allowed my past 30 years to be fatherless for His glory and my good.
I miss my dad. I missed having him watch me play football, graduate from high school, and head off to Biola University. I missed him on my wedding day, and when my kids were born. I missed him when I graduated from seminary and planted a church and was ordained.
I wish my dad were still here. I wish he could hear my son Doug play the flute or see my daughter Maddie dance.
But as I reflect on this day – October 26, 1982 – I am filled with gratitude for the days and ways that my dad influenced my life. I hope that my influence on my children will be equally as valuable and consistent as his influence on me.
30 years later – I’m thankful for peace. Peace that goes beyond my understanding. Peace that reminds me that God’s still in control. And I’m not. And I don’t have to be!