I have learned some valuable things these past few weeks as my son, Paul was taken from us in a tragic accident. They are too numerous to mention, but any parent who experiences anything like this will know what some of them are. But one thing keeps haunting me and it is something most of us never think of until it is too late - that I took him being around for granted.
As children age, and as their lives are consumed with family, work and activities with those of their own age, we tend to drift farther apart as Moms and Dads to give them the space to grow their own lives. Paul and I maybe spoke two or three times a month, and, though we always had great conversations, I find myself thinking that I should have talked to him more often. Now I cling to the few remaining voice messages of his, the pictures and the words of his family and friends, but I will no longer be able to touch, hug and speak directly to him.
Sure, I speak to his spirit, but the fact is that I took his presence for granted, and as I mourn the loss of so many things we could have spoken about, and the things we could still have done as father and son, it hurts to understand this. So now I call all my other kids more often, will take more trips back to ATL and have a general feeling that my time will be more often spent with them and the grandkids because every day is so valuable, and we never know when it will end.
The fact is that as so called Christians this can happen just as easily in our relationship with the Lord. We can get busy with so many other things that we forget to spend as much time as we can with our Father, and he longs for this communication and relationship as much as our soul longs for Him. Then we wake up one day to realize that we have drifted off so far from what once was that, we may have taken God for granted.
God has so many wonderful qualities that we should not just learn about them from someone else, we should experience them ourselves to get the full impact of His presence and how it can change our lives.
Paul was a great son, but from his friends, the love and support of other folks whose lives he touched, I learned that he was much greater than I thought. That is something I wish I could have back, the full impact of how great a guy he was.
I think I now understand God a little better, he knows for sure how I am feeling right now.
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.