Monday, May 03, 2004


Well, THAT was ugly............

7-2 Philly? In game 5 of a playoff series? Oh, my.

There's not much more I can say about this one. I'll be watching tomorrow night, but I fear that my hockey-watching for this year may be about to come to an end. Even if they win (a dubious possibility) tomorrow night, what are the odds they put it together and win Game 7 in Philly Thursday? Remember last year? I do.

Now, I actually have something important to write about today, so I'll save the movie list for later. Suffice to say, Austin got 'em all and has laud down the gauntlet for me to come up with some REALLY challenging cast lists, which I'm confident I can do. I will state, however, that some movies will require me going to IMDb or Amazon to get supporting cast members.

Al Baker has written a powerful post regarding his family that you should go read. While my circumstances growing up were very different, I will say that death in the family can be a transforming experience, especially if another person doesn't get to say what needs to be said beforehand.

Case in point:

My mother died in 1979, when I was 12, leaving my dad with four kids (I was the oldest and my youngest brother, Mike, was 2). None of us really had a chance to say goodbye to Mom, who had been sick for a few months and, to this day, I still miss her. My dad made a very difficult decision not to have us kids attend the funeral, which I had a really hard time with and, while I won't go into the specifics, I carried a lot of bitterness for a lot of years.

Fast forward 7 years.

In 1986, I had dropped out of University and made the decision to go to work full-time, landing a data-entry job at Dofasco. Shortly after starting, Dad announced that it was time I moved out. My relationship with Dad and my stepmother (Patti) had become very strained by that point and I was ready to leave. I found an apartment downtown, moved most of my stuff by bus and cab and actually started staying in the apartment the day I got the keys (a few days before I was supposed to officially move). Dad loaded up a few of the big things in his car on moving day and helped me move those things. After he left that day, I barely spoke to my parents for close to three months. I found out later that my Dad was so excited about me stepping out on my own, that it crushed him that I didn't wait for the actual day I was supposed to move because he was looking forward to sharing that day with me.


Now, in the intervening years, I moved once a year, and I don't think my Dad saw any of my apartments. I made occasional visits to the old homestead, but really wasn't too close. Now, in 1991, I saw the writing on the wall at Dofasco and was headed toward layoffs in the next few years. I began to give some serious thought to returning to school, but couldn't afford to stay out on my own without a full-time job. After a few days of serious thinking, I called my Dad and explained what I wanted to do and asked if he would take me back into the house. No discussion, he just said yes. Dad renovated the basement, creating an apartment for me and giving me my own separate entrance. I stayed until I started working co-op terms and, by then, we had had about enough of one another again. By this time, my parents had accepted Christ as their Saviour. I had not, which made things a bit difficult, as they were having a hard time with my hard-charging, party-all-the-time lifestyle.

January 1995. The first Sunday in January, I make my first voluntary visit to Philpott to attend a Sunday service. In February, I pray the sinner's prayer for the first time and follow it with a tearful phone call to my parents, telling them what I did and apologizing for everything. In July I accepted Christ as my Saviour and then made a public statement of faith during a David Meece concert October 3 (my second date with Christine). I was baptized in February 1996. My Dad and I had begun to really repair our relationship, and then......


October, 1996. Men's Retreat at the Guelph Bible Conference Centre. Dad and I shared a room for the weekend and he told me the reason for all his hospital visits over the past few months: bladder cancer. The prognosis was not good, but he was preparing for a tough fight and trusted that God had a plan and he was prepared for whatever that plan would be.


May, 1997. Promise Keepers Conference in Buffalo. Dad and I went together. He was really sick by this point, but wouldn't skip. Among the speakers, Gary Rosberg had a particularly huge impact on us. After Rosberg's message, Dad and I hugged and told each other how sorry we were. This led to a huge conversation on the trip home where we both laid bare our feelings on a lot of things. Later that year, we had another big fight over something I cannot remember and, the following Sunday, Triumphant Sound sang "Lift Up The Cross" for the first time. Dad sat in the front row listening and, after the service, I went to him and the two of us sat together in the front row, crying uncontrollably (at least I was, Dad would shed tears, but always remained in control).

That was the last Sunday he was in Church.

Dad passed away on January 1, 1998. Looking back, I wouldn't trade my experiences with Dad in the last few years of his life for anything. I do wish he had been here for my wedding, my graduation for my MBA and, above all, the birth of Aidan. I know he was experiencing those events, through God's grace, but I missed him (and my Mom) dearly at all of those events.

The point is this. We only have one Mom and one Dad (and one family). We shouldn't wait until the end to try to make contact. Al, I hope your Mom makes contact with her sister and restores the relationship there. Lane talks a lot about keeping short accounts and, goodness knows, forgiveness can be a difficult thing. Dad forgave me and I him and I'm thankful to God that He placed that forgiving spirit in our hearts.

Al, I will be praying for you. Anytime you want to talk, you know where I am.