In My Father’s Hands

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him, for He knows how we are formed; He remembers that we are dust.” — Psalm 103:13-14

I still remember how wonderful my relationship with my own father was. He was a man of a good sense of humor. We could laugh together about a lot of things. Since my sister was a girl and my brother was eight years younger than I, there was not a lot he could not share with them at that time. He would always shave and then when he would remember something funny, he would come out and share it with me or we would read the morning paper and laugh at Quino or Mafalda or some other comics in the Colombian papers. One morning he came out of the bathroom and his shaving cream looked different. I said to him, “What’s that on your face?” and he said without a flinch, “Shaving cream, of course!” and then he touched his face and it smelled it and it was tooth paste! So he turns to me and says, “Wow! That is toothpaste! I wonder what I brushed my teeth with!!” And we both laughed and laughed!! Classic dad!

We had a relationship of mutual respect as well. I respected him and he respected me. When he had to discipline me, he would because he knew it was for my good.  He was one of the kindest and generous human beings upon this planet! If he could help someone out, he would. He sacrificed in every way. He could have driven high priced cars like “Beemers” or Benz but he drove Renaults so he could pay for our education.

He was not as comfortable around people with a lot of money but he knew how to connect with everybody. He was easy-going and had a lot of friends. People would warm up to him right away. He was not comfortable pouring out his personal problems with just anyone. He was “burned” several times and has some issues with trust. But he was a very forgiving man.  And he would humble himself if he knew that he had mistake and admit it.

He loved music and the movies. His favorite kind of music was jazz and he had the uncanny ability to recognize almost any jazz song of his time! We would put jazz albums on and a certain track and he would tell us, the artist, the name of the album, who produced it, what year, what side the track and what number on that side! The same with movies, he could tell us who starred in it, who directed it, who produced it, what year, if it won oscars and how many!!

His architectural ability was even more renowned. He was the chief designer of the Contemporary Hotel of Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. He won several awards for his designs, one for the beautification of the City of Bogota in Bogota, Colombia for a commercial center he designed. My favorite is a hotel he designed for a company called Cafam in Melgar, Colombia, which is one of the great post-modern designs in that country.

He was a man of great dreams and legacies. And he did it all for us! His love was so great that he always wanted the best for all of us, including my half sister Laura, who still lives in Colombia.

The best legacy that he left me is how he dealt with HD. He would not mind talking about it but then changed the subject to us and our dreams and ambitions or about music or a movie. He was a man with a great positive attitude. And he was a man of simple faith, “I don’t have all the answers but I know God does.” That is the kind of faith, I want to have.

I have a much clearer view as to what my legacy will be. My father, with just a simple faith, was able to have peace with HD and live and die with dignity. That legacy inspired me to go forward with my illness to leave something behind as well. I have to decided to put these journals in a book form so that they can be used to inspire others in the midst of there suffering as well, including my family.

Randy Alcorn in his new book, “If God is Good:Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil,” writes this: “Sometimes God intervenes by removing our suffering. Often He comforts us in our suffering. Sometimes He holds our hands as He brings us home to the perfect world He’s made for us.”

Praise be to God that whichever He chooses for me, I know it the best for me and all of those surrounding me! And the one thing I know for sure is that He is holding my hand until Jesus comes and I am resurrected into a New Body free from sickness and illness!! I WILL see Him in the morning!!! The Resurrection morning!! No more death!!No more suffering!! No more crying!!No more tears!! Until that time, I rest peacefully in my Father’s hands.

Prayer: Father, You have showed me that love me more than anyone could love me. I thank You for giving me an earthly father who was an inspiration for me and loved me as well. Thank You for Your mercy, grace, steadfast love, and compassion toward. By grace, I have been saved. By grace, if I abide in You, You will give me the strength to live a faithful life. And by grace, I will experience the joy of the hope of the resurrection of a New Body. Let me not forget to that I am walking in Your hands and that You sustain me and give me grace. Amen.”

2 thoughts on “In My Father’s Hands”

  1. Enjoyed your comments. I saw your posting on Randy Alcorn’s FB site and had to go to your website to hear more.
    My husband has HD and I really enjoyed reading your thoughts as my husband really doesn’t or can’t talk about his thoughts on the subject of his health. I think your idea of creating a DVD journal is a good one. I look for information on how people are coping with the disease and their emotions and there isn’t much out there.
    Stay strong—-
    I will say a prayer for you tonight.

  2. Marie:

    Thank you for comments and your prayers! God is good all the time; even when things don’t go our way. How old is your husband? Is he symptomatic? Did he grow up in a church environment? What are your religious background? As a chaplain, I always ask my patients how they have found strength in the past. Sometimes it is through the church, sometimes it’s through the family. This is a devastating illness that puts a lot of stress on the family and definitely affects the person who has it.

    For the longest time, I just wanted to ignore it as well. I thought, if I don’t think about it, it will go away. The most destructive aspect of this illness what we think it will bring to us and our families. Our imagination of what might happen to us is sometimes worse than the illness itself. At this point I have realized that most of my negative thoughts only bring more depression.

    The trick is being able to refocus on positive thoughts. At the beginning of my journey I had to come to the conclusion that the gene is there and nothing is going to change that. So I made peace with that by looking at scripture that focused on suffering with a purpose. One good example is Paul’s request to God take away his “thorn in the flesh” three times and every time God said no:

    “But He said to me, ‘My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” — 2 Cor 12:9, 10.

    I realized that there was a purpose in “my thorn in the flesh!” And not only that, God’s power could only be made manifest in my weakness! There is nothing more humbling than the HD illness. But once I turned it over to God, it was His problem to take care! And it still is! Now my journey is not about what this illness can bring, it’s about the purpose of it in my life and how I can bring glory to God’s name. It’s about letting God’s power be present in my weakness so that Christ can be exalted!

    You are right, I have not been able to find a lot of books or information on how people are coping with this illness. I have found books in general that deal with suffering that that have helped me in this journey. But none have dealt with this illness in general, especially from the Spiritual perspective. I always recommend two great authors on this subject, Philip Yancey and Henri Nouwen. Now I am adding Randy Alcorn on this subject because he has done a great job of putting it into perspective with the New Earth, which is one of my favorite topics.

    When my father was at the end of his life, I read all the scriptures on this subject (Rev 21:1-4; Isa 65 and Isa 66; 2 Peter, I Thess and 1 Corinthians). All these talk about a New Body on a New Earth, without sin and suffering and that there will be no more pain, or death, or illnesses! That is my focus today and that is what gives me motivation and inspiration to move from day to day and month to month.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Let me know how he is doing. And I would suggest some sort of support group for both of you. And if he can’t go, then try going yourself.

    God bless,

    Chaplain Vance

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