Unexpected Love

  • Feb. 14, 2008
  • #6729

After a stroke, Patricia's, stoic father finally began to show affection and Patricia realized how much her father loved her. Joni encourages listerners to show one another how much you care--before you run out of time.

I was talking with my friend, Patricia, over the weekend and she told me that growing up, she and her siblings did not have the warmest relationship with their dad.  Although they never doubted his love, Patricia's father was a stoic man - he did not hug, he did not lavish praises on his children, and she could never remember him kissing her or her sisters and brothers.  She couldn't ever remember him saying "I love you."  Still, they never doubted their dad's love... he was strong, resourceful, committed man, he provided abundantly for his family... yet, they had every reason to doubt his affection.  Patricia's dad was anything but affectionate. 

Well, she told me that a few years ago, their father suffered a series of strokes; that, combined with a serious heart ailment, placed him at the very door of death within just a few months.  Patricia and her siblings grieved when they had to place their dad in hospice care.  They prayed his remaining days on earth would be as comfortable as possible, that the Lord would take their dad home swiftly... they did not want him to linger in pain.

Well.  It was about that time that Patricia's father had another stroke - it was a stroke that (how can I put it) seemed to release something in her father's mind, because almost over night he became a different man.  His strong stoic exterior was stripped away and he began to act strangely - he lost his reserve and he began telling his children how much he loved them. 

They would walk into his room and he'd reach out his arms to welcome and embrace them.  Out of nowhere, he was effusive with his hugs and with his words of appreciation.  He could not say much, but just "I love you", "I love you", over and over again.  Suddenly, Patricia stopped praying that God would take her dad swiftly home.  The fact that he lingered was a source of great joy, for at death's door, they were seeing a side of their father they never experienced.  When he finally did pass away, they had no doubt that for the many years they knew him, he had, indeed, been affectionate -- at least under the surface. 

And I think it's a lesson today.  Friend, don't wait until the last minute, don't wait until it's too late.  Don't wait until you hardly have anytime left.  If the apostle Paul, as strong and manly as he was, could open his heart in II Corinthians 2 and tell his brothers and sisters how much he loved them - "With many tears," he wrote, "to express the depth of my love for you" - wow, if he could do that, then your exterior isn't so thick that you can't express your depth of love for your family members.  Find the words today... find the time... and find it in your heart to tell the people that you love that you really do love them, because if Patricia's father were still here, that would be his advice.

 ©  Joni and Friends

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