Man in the Mirror

This is my Dad. He is merely a reflection of the man he used to be. I wonder what he sees when he looks in the mirror. I wonder who he sees when he looks in the mirror. Does he see the "tough guy" Italian boxer he used to be? Does he see the officer that served in the Army and the Navy? Does he see the missionary that selflessly gave of his life to serve on the mission field in Brazil? Does he still see the preacher that said he will only retire the day he dies? Could it be that he sees the invalid whose body is giving out only second to his mind that dementia is stealing from him every day? I wonder, as he looks at himself in the mirror, which one of these men is staring back at him?

You see, my 79 year old father had a stroke several years ago, suffers with prostate cancer, diabetes and dementia. I believe the physical things would be easier to handle, it’s the mental that breaks my heart. He often speaks of his days in the military, and can recall names of those he fought and triumphed over in the boxing ring, but tell him of a family vacation, a special occasion, something as simple as what he just had for dinner and there is nothing but emptiness. Emptiness in the eyes that used to twinkle with mischief. Emptiness in the eyes that could change just as quickly from anger to love and forgiveness as the direction of the wind. My dad has always been the "go to" guy when it came to questions about the Bible. He could recall and quote more Scripture than anyone I’ve ever known. How could it be that all of that is lost? Is it not hidden in his heart? I choose to believe it is locked away in some corner of his mind in which he no longer has the key. For to me, he is still my Dad, the tough Italian boxer, the selfless missionary, the "go to" guy. Even though he is empty, those things live on in his children. Thank you, Dad, I love you.

Who do we see when we look in the mirror? Do we see a reflection of our Heavenly Father? Or is the image staring back filled with self-centeredness and pride? Do we mirror our Father’s example by practicing the Fruits of the Spirit? Sometimes I wonder what my Heavenly Father thinks when He looks at my reflection. I am so thankful His eyes are filled with unconditional love and immeasurable grace. Lord, help me to reflect You to a lost world. Let me be Your hands and feet.

A final is my mom’s 68th birthday. She looks great, so I’m sure she won’t mind me telling her age...she should be proud! We surprised her today with lunch, flowers, a cake, gifts, balloons, just to shower her with love and wish her a Happy Birthday. She has had to transition from wife to caregiver, a daunting task, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She is tired. She doesn’t have time for herself or her needs, she is nurse to my Dad around the clock. Pray for her if you think about it. Just breathe her name (Marilyn) a few times a day and ask the Holy Spirit to give her strength, patience, guidance and wisdom. Mom, I love you. Thanks for all you do for our family and for taking care of Dad. Happy Birthday!

8 sweet friends had to say...:

Di-dan said...

Wow Tracey, what a message for today. I know we've talked about your dad before, but I am sure it is heartbreaking to watch time and age do what it sometimes does to people. I'm sure I can't even imagine how hard that must be for all of you. It is a curious question though to wonder what/who he sees looking back at him...I would wonder that myself. I'm glad you were able to be here to help celebrate your mom's birthday. I'm sure it meant the world to her. You did the right thing, sister, and I am proud of you! Thanks for this message today...and the picture of your dad...VERY thought provoking. You are loved and appreciated and always know that I care!

Cantini #3 said...

There is absolutely nothing to say to what you wrote today. There are no words that come close to being adequate. You know how much I love your family. Love you too, Chelle

Jennifer said...

Wow Tracey. I will pray for you and your parents. Thank you for the glimpse into the lives of those you hold so dear. Thank you for trusting us with your family.

chrome dome said...

I'm thankful that I have had the priviledge of knowing your Dad and who he really is. Such a true man of God. I can truthfully say he is one of the most Godly men I have ever known. Tracey, I thank God that I am a part of your (our) family. I love you.

JPC88 said...

My dad is 78 and other than he can't hear a thing you say he is doing pretty well. He has been smoking all of his life, also. We are blessed and messages like these remind me not to get too frustrated with him when he calls and it takes me 4 times to get my message across.

Jodi Lynn said...

Oh honey, I'll be praying for you! My mom had a stroke when she was 32, and lost a lot, but then she had another that killed her. I remember her frustration, even though I was only 14. She would cry because she couldn't do things like pronounce words the right way or write. It is so hard and scary, not only for us but for them, too. I am sending lots of love your way!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracey -
I called your Mom this afternoon and we had a nice "catch-up" chat. Thanks for giving me the number! I don't know if she ever told you that I also taught Draven computer in pre-K, so I got to ask about him as well. I am going to try to keep in better touch with her. She sounded great, but she also sounded tired, as I would expect with all she has to deal with right now. I am continuing to pray for both your Mom & Dad. I have such great memories of them from our old ZH days, as well as a LOT of admiration - such a godly couple!
Thanks again -

RealEstateGirl said...

Thanks friends, for your kind words, prayers and support. They are taking my Dad on Tuesday for a bone scan to see if the cancer has spread to his bones. I will keep you posted.

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