It was a week of sleeping, eating, and breathing work. The last week before the semester’s commitments force me to plan and schedule and measure my time. A last attempt to finally capture that key result I’ve been grasping at all summer, which has slithered away each time I brush against it. A week ending in another confusing negative result and collapsing in bed discouraged and exhausted. I wasn’t prepared to be awoken early Saturday by desperate phone calls from my mother. Or to pack my bags and rush to the next state. I did not expect to be a brave, strong adult who picks up the phone at the doors to the hospital ICU and states “I’m here to visit my father in room 408.” I never imagined calling my baby sister in her first week at college to let her know dad had had a massive heart attack. Or sitting for days fixated upon a green line on a screen, worrying or resting based on the shape and number which represent the life in Dad’s heart. And as much as I was not prepared, life in the ICU quickly became routine. Dad miraculously recovering, becoming more himself, ever interested in small talk. A large event, which everyone said should have taken his life, yet he was still interested in the small. “Is it raining outside?” he would ask. We readily participate because truly, when you brush that close to losing your dad, when you see the strongest, healthiest man you know so vulnerable, you would do anything for him. One day he speaks words that run deep, at least in my heart. “Don’t you wish you had stayed in [math/engineering] instead of going into biology?” He is cut off by the nurse coming in, but his words shake me to the core. This man whom I love dearly and so nearly lost, is he proud of me? Does he approve of what I am doing? I remember years ago, the glimmer of pride in his eye as I solved difficult math problems he made up on the napkins at Dairy Queen. Or the academic awards of high school, the engineering internships at his company, or being accepted by his alma mater for a PhD program in engineering. When the grad school situation crumbled and I ended up 22, jobless, and directionless, I learned to listen to the voice of another Father who is proud of obedience and dependence and trust. A Father who holds power over the universe, yet makes sure that I get exactly what I need to step into his will. Ironically, his will was not for me to leave academia permanently, but to re-enter it as a missionary, this time in the biology department. My pride no longer needs me to have a PhD, but my Father does. And so in this emotional week, my earthly father’s words echo deeply. I almost want to throw this biology PhD away in order to make him proud of me again. But I am faced with a question of loyalty. While I can and will love and cherish and hold my father’s every day as a gift, my first loyalty is to my heavenly Father. To make him proud is the highest calling and most lasting reward of anything on earth.

Joining, as usual, with Five Minute Friday


2 thoughts on “loyal

  1. Katy, that your Dad is recovering is awesome! My prayers are with all y’all, prayers of both thanksgiving and hope for a steady upward path. (My father-in-law had a massive stroke on July 3, and for more than a week there was the serious consideration of talking him off life support; on August 10 he was discharged from the hospital, walking without assistance.)

    For his comment, and for your own reflections on your path, I would say this – the terrible and insidiously evil thing about vain regret is that it discard the subsequent good. I am writing this at 0430 where I live (NM), haunted by something I had to do as a younger version of myself.

    Would that I could undo that day…but perhaps not, because, like the sweetness of the grape catching up in its essence the decay that formed the fertilizer, God brought good from that fell time. And like the fertilizer in the sunkist sweetness, good is forever co-mingled with bad.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, dear brave heart, dear katy!

    • Oops I don’t know how I missed your comment last week. Thanks for the prayers…my dad is continuing to do well. And wow, very thankful with you for your father-in-law’s recovery! I love the imagery of the grape growing because of the decay of the fertilizer. Thanks as always for those nuggets of truth and wisdom!

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