Last week, I traveled back to my hometown for our annual golf outing in memory of my dad which raises money for two scholarships we give away at the school he taught at and the school he went to high school at and then later was an administrator at (they are 10 miles apart). While I was starting my run, early in the morning with the humidity already unbearable, I nearly broke down crying. Sometimes grief just hits you.
I shouldn't be here for this outing. This outing shouldn't even exist. I love that we can help people but sometimes I wish and dream for a different story. A story where my dad would be retired and enjoying every minute of it. Those days when I need a babysitter, I know I could have called dad and he would drive the hour and half to watch Liam for just 3 hours. Just like that movie, Sliding Doors, I imagine the other life. The life where dad walked me down the aisle and cried at my wedding. I can see him teaching Liam how to throw a ball and play football in the kitchen. I can only imagine what dad's opinion of the current state of education in Illinois would be. He would have an opinion for sure but would advise me to "stay the course." This "different story" that could have easily been my real story. My real memories. Instead, they are dreams and wishful hopes that always disappoint.
But alas, in the middle of these thoughts and my grieving moments, I am reminded that I have a choice. A choice to let my grief define me like a badge and to live in constant misery of "what could have been." Or I can choose hope. I can hope in the One who was with dad when he breathed his last. The choice to see good and not the evil from sickness, injury, and pain that sin brings. I hope not in the "what could have been" but for the day when we are reunited without fault, sin, or illness. I am constantly reminded that this life will always let me down, but Christ will not.
I would love to play the victim and feel sorry for myself, but the truth is, everyone has a story to tell and everyone has a different story they'd like to tell. I wish a lot of my students had different stories to tell. My story is not what I had envisioned as a young girl, but it is MY story. Losing my dad is just a piece of it. And that piece has carved and molded me into something positive. My story allows me to look at my circumstances and CHOOSE hope, love, peace, patience, kindness, and gentleness. It's not an easy choice and it's one I have to make daily. But I'd rather live in hope than in fear.
Thank you for reading a piece of my story.