15: Daddy’s Light

15: Daddy’s Light

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

Daddy’s Light

Faith is like electricity. You can’t see it, but you can see the light.

~Author Unknown

My dad had been battling cancer for five years and surviving that long largely because of the positive attitude born of his newfound faith. Living on the opposite end of the continent, it was hard for me to travel to see him. But when the doctors recommended hospice I knew I needed to pay him a visit. When I arrived it was obvious that my stepmother, Barb, was exhausted from caring for him. So when my younger sister, Renee, came into town, we explained that we wanted her to take a day and rest.

“The two of us can handle Daddy’s care while you go home a sleep for a while. Otherwise we’ll be taking care of you,” Renee told her. After Barb painstakingly helped her husband of forty-three years to a chair, she agreed to take us up on our offer.

Daddy sat up for a while, but he obviously was in a lot of pain. Just before lunch he wanted to lie down. Ren and I walked him across the room to his bed. After fluffing pillows and rearranging covers until we felt that he was as comfortable as we could possibly make him, we headed toward the couches at the far side of the hospice room to catch up while Daddy slept.

Renee didn’t hear him but I did. Clutching his covers until his knuckles were white with pain, he whispered, “I hate this.”

I walked back to my dad’s bedside with Ren following me, asking what was wrong and what was going on. Without explaining to her, I took my hurting father by the hand and said all I knew to say, “Daddy, I’m so sorry you hurt. I’m so sorry you are in this pain.” Then I did what my faith had taught me to do when I didn’t know what to do—I prayed. Holding his hand I prayed out loud, “Lord, you know your son hurts and you told us that we could come to you and you would give us rest. Let him rest in your arms of peace right now.”

Fervently lost in prayer, I felt a sense of peace come over me. Then I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. It was Ren. She was standing on the other side of the Daddy’s bed holding his other hand.

Just as I opened my eyes, I saw a brilliant ray of light radiating between us and resting gently on my dad. His brow, furrowed from the pain, now relaxed as he slept, serenely enveloped in the glow. The light still shining, Ren began to pray out loud for my dad. When she finished, I started again. I don’t know how long we stood there. Time seemed to stand still during that sacred moment.

A knock at the door interrupted us. It was a longtime family friend who had come by to check on my dad. I ushered him to the sitting area of the hospice room so that my dad could sleep. Ren joined us and we informed him of my dad’s current condition.

He didn’t stay long and the minute he walked out the door, Ren jumped up in her delightful, dramatic style that I had come to love over the years. “Can you believe that light?” she asked. “I’m so glad you were here, Lin, because no one would believe me. I’m not sure I would believe me!”

“I’m glad you were here too,” I said.

Just then Ren’s husband, Bill, joined us. She rushed to tell him our story. From the way he rolled his eyes, I could tell he wasn’t buying a bit of it. Bill makes his living as an airplane pilot, and is not taken by the emotions of the moment. Turning on his heels, he walked over to the window next to the bed where my dad lay sleeping. He returned to the sitting area wide-eyed and slack-jawed.

“Ya’ll, there’s a building in front of that window,” Bill reported, shaking his head.

“I know,” I said to my skeptical brother-in-law. “You can’t say it was just the sun shining through the window, and explain this away as some natural occurrence.” Bill seemed to let this soak in.

My stepmom returned from a day of much needed rest, accompanied by my twin sister. We left Bill to watch my dad, and we crossed the hall to the kitchen where wonderful church folks brought meals for the hospice families each week. We ate quickly in case my dad woke up and needed something, but as we did, Ren recounted our story about our prayer and the light. “This radiance was bright yellow,” she said. “And glowing.”

“It enveloped the room,” I chimed in.

As we both struggled for an adequate description, we stated at the same time, “It had substance.”

When my dad needed God’s comfort the most, the Lord was there. His presence brought light and rest to my hurting father, and that brought peace to the rest of us.

~Linda Newton

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