My rock has had a rocky few years. 2016 started off with a toast and a cancer diagnosis. After 15 months of treatment, surgery followed. And then we waited for the healing to begin and the checkups every few months to see if the doctors got it all. After a clean 6-month check-up, we all breathed a sigh of relief. But that deep breath didn’t last long. A few weeks later, Hurricane Harvey took up residence on the Texas coast and my rock lost every earthly possession he owned.
My dad. He has never been the kind of dad to get too involved in the daily details but you always knew he was there. He never pried or pushed his way into our world. A great example of this is when Husband asked him for my hand in marriage. They had known each other less than 12 hours at this point, and my dad just shook his head and said “son, I don’t know you from Adam, but I know my daughter and nobody else has made it this far. Good luck.” He is my first call for sound wisdom on just about any topic. Which car to buy, what stain to use, or how high is too high when it comes to fevers. He also knows how to get you a ribbon in the district science fair in 7th grade because not everybody has a dad who’s a chemist.
He has always been the steady eddy in the background of my life. I always knew he loved me and that he was proud of me, even though he is a man of few words…unless you wanna talk about gas chromatographs and then that man will talk both your ears off! But cancer has a way of changing things and I have noticed in the past few years that he leaves fewer things unsaid. When I wrote a blog about depression and mentioned his cancer, I asked for his approval before publishing. His response about how much he loved it and how proud he was of me for using my struggles and my gift of writing to help so many is one I will treasure for the rest of my life. And it is not lost on me that without cancer, I might not have had that precious moment with my dad.
Then came hurricane clean up. Seeing my dad linger over tiny bins of nuts and bolts and screws gave me a glimpse of how difficult this process was for him. To drag everything he had worked for and built over the past 44 years out into piles on the curb is heartbreaking on a level I can’t fully grasp. My rock was wavering and I could see a bit of fear creep in. But God showed up in the ways that only God can. From the manpower needed for demo to the countless people who sent supplies and gift cards and clothes, we began to notice that every time there was a need, it was being met in the most unusual ways. Every time we would talk about the next step of the process or the next decision to be made, my mom would just say “God will provide.” And He is. Every day, in big and small ways, God is making all things new. Every day, I see the fear get smaller and my dad’s faith get a bit bigger. As I was driving to school pickup today, I got a phone call from mom with some amazing news about the rebuilding process and as we hung up, this thought crossed my mind: If there has been no Hurricane Harvey, would my family know the goodness of God that we are experiencing right now? Probably not.
It makes me realize on a whole new level that everything in this world is so temporary and God’s ways are not our ways. I would never pick cancer or a hurricane just so that my relationship with my father would grow. But He allowed cancer and a hurricane so that my dad’s relationship with his Father would grow. I can’t wrap my brain around it, honestly. All I can do is be grateful for the beauty that is left after the storm has passed. And grateful that my rock is still rolling along.