God Blog for Ash Wednesday, February 18, 2015

During the season of Lent, members of St. Stephen’s will offer brief daily reflections on an experience or a moment of transformation when we saw ourselves or someone else or an event in a whole new light. People are invited to share our “Aha” moments when God changes the landscape of life in small or large ways.

Today is Ash Wednesday but it also would have been my father’s 90th When I was 12, my father left our family to live with another woman. My teenage years were filled with shame because my parents were neither together nor
divorced; the house in which I lived was in extreme disrepair; and we existed on a very limited budget. I blamed my father for my mother’s unhappiness and for the limits of my life.

As an adult, through spiritual direction and therapy, I worked at healing my spirit. To be fully alive, I needed to let go of my anger, regret, and disappointment about the past; I needed to forgive my father. Over time, I came to see my father, my mother, and myself in new and freeing ways.

Days before my father’s 70th birthday, he suffered a massive stroke. Although he died from an embolism while still in the hospital, my sisters and I had time to be with him before he died. I spent three days with his wife visiting him daily in the hospital. While the stroke had taken away mobility on his right side and most speech, he was still alert and present. The day I left, he kissed me three times before he let me go. In the moment, the words I heard were “You know I love you; you know I love you; you know I love you.” Peter’s words to Jesus on the beach healing his abandonment and betrayal; my father’s last words to me healing my heart.

— Rev. Jane