15 Years Later

   Posted by: Mel   in Life

March 14, 1953

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Coates Sr. - March 14, 1953

Dear Daddy,

At the time of your death I did not understand why you had to leave. Life was good. Life was really good. So much I wanted to say to you, but time was so short after trying to reach everyone to tell them “it won’t be long”. By the time I made it back, you really were gone. I thought life was over. And it was as far as I knew life to be. I grew up very fast. There were bills to be paid.

15 years later I can say that life did go on. Not the same way. And what I wouldn’t give to have you here. Mom sure would be happier. She misses you so much these days. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I feel she will be with you and her Savior before long. I did not come visit your grave today. I knew that is the last place you would want me. Instead I spent the day with your great grandkids, their last day here before Texas (who knew they’d end up in your home state - I love Texas, but I don’t like this, hate goodbyes). We played in the park, went to the Zoo. And spent time with a great friend.

I don’t know whether you can see down here. I’d like to believe you have better things to do than to stalk me day in and day out. But if by chance you can, I’d like for you to know what you taught me. At the age of 36 (almost 37) I can say I am not the same person I was when you were here. I have matured greatly. And I now know who I am. I had no clue when you were here. So below are things you taught me, either by example or by telling me.

Let God Pick Your Friends
You never picked friends. They seemed to always pick you. Most of your friends were Pastors. Or least ‘good Christian folk’. You surrounded yourself with people who didn’t lie to you. Judge you. Or talk about you behind your back. Instead you surrounded yourself, Mom and our family with people who first and foremost prayed for you. Upheld you. There when you needed them most (and always returned the favor). You’ll be glad to know I have finally found this life lesson to be true. I indeed have allowed God to pick my friends. And have surrounded myself with people who treat me well. The ones I can really count on do not talk about me behind my back. Judge me or lie to me. And they pray for me probably more than I pray for myself.

No Excuse Not To Go To Church
“Unless you are on your death bed, you will go to church. And if you are on your death bed we will wheel you in and pray that God will raise you from the dead!” I heard this on more than one occasion. While I use caution and smarts when I am sick. I find the desire to go to Church stronger than ever before. I always thought you went to church and “made” us go because “it was the right thing to do”. But what makes a man who is in his old age, who still works 9 hours a day in his 70’s, raised 10 kids get up every Sunday morning and go to the house of the Lord? Surely didn’t have anything to prove at that point. At 36 I get it. You really loved God. It wasn’t about going to church. It was about being in God’s presence. And devoting those few hours a week to him, completely to Him. Thank you for that.

You Need To Know More Than Just How To Wash Dishes
You taught me to change spark plugs. Change my own oil. How to change a tire. How to plant a garden. And so much more than most girls my age knew how to do. I can and still do these things when needed. It has saved me money. Gotten me out of jams. And for the most part when I have no one else to rely on to do these things. I can do them myself without too much effort.

“You don’t have to be like everyone else”. Whether in the way I dressed. Ate. Wore my hair. You taught me it was ok to be who I was. And those people who were my true friends would love me for it. It was ok to be independent from all the others.

Don’t Settle
Whether in marriage, relationships with friends, church or work. You taught me to not settle for the first thing that came along. Just as you didn’t. You kept striving, kept looking till you found what you wanted. Then pray and ask God to give you the desires of your heart. Mom says this is how you ended up with her. Which leads me to the next thing you taught me.

How To Take Care Of Mom
You were very stuck in your ways at times. But no one loved Mom or took better care of her than you did. I told you 15 years ago today I would take care of her whether anyone else did or not. I have kept my promise and will continue to do so. But I could not have done it without knowing how to do it from you. By watching you both together through the years. Thank you for letting God pick Mom for you. And thank you for marrying her. I suppose you could have carried on like many do today. But you stepped up and you made the commitment to her before God. You did it God’s way from start to finish. I can not tell you how much pride I have knowing my parents weren’t like everyone else’s.

Giving God What Was His Already
You taught me to pay my tithes. First. Not last. And not give ‘whatever I had to give after bills were paid’. But to pay 10% of my income or whatever God blessed me with first. Even if it looked like there was too much month at the end of the money. God would always supply because I had done what is right. It wasn’t giving money to the Pastor. It wasn’t giving it to a church. It was giving it back to God. Giving money back to Him that already belonged to Him. But you didn’t just teach me tithing. You taught me to go above my tithes. Give in offerings. Give of my time and talent. One of the greatest lessons you ever taught me.

Above All Be A Servant
You were first and foremost a child of God. But second to that, no one I knew had more of a servant’s heart than you did. We were the first ones to church, last ones to leave. And the only ones who ever had mail sent to the church in our name (people thought we lived there). You served God and our local church no matter how you felt. I often felt that “someone else could do that just this once”. I now know better. You taught me to be first in the door, last in line and stay as long as I needed too. To be helpful anywhere I was asked to be. And nothing, absolutely NOTHING was below my qualifications when it came to the house of the Lord. I watched you scrub toilets on Saturdays. Vacuum the church and mow lawns. And then lead service Sunday morning. Teach Sunday School Class. But in the middle of church if you were needed to run unclog a toilet. You rolled up your sleeves and got the job done. All in your Sunday best. And now as I write this I smile knowing you are sitting at the feet of Jesus, the greatest servant of all mankind. Worshipping Him. And probably wondering when He’s going to let you help build a mansion. Always a Servant.

Keep Your Reputation Right Between You and God
“If you keep your reputation right between you and God. Then your reputation will be right between you an man. And you will never have to defend yourself. Others will rise up to defend you” - I found this to be true time and time again. Thank you for not only telling me this. But leading my example.

I love you Daddy. Miss you more than ever this week. I long to be in Heaven. And knowing you are there makes me want to live my life that much more for Christ. He is enough to make me wanna go. But you make Heaven a little sweeter. Thank you for everything you taught me. You taught me so much more than what is here. But these life lessons are what have helped me through a lot of tough times over the past 15 years. I am in no way perfect in all of these areas. But I strive daily to be the friend to others as you were all your years. I will never forget my last moments with you. But I hang onto the life long moments, they are what keep me striving.

I will meet you at the rivers bend, where the tree hangs out over the river, some sweet day. Until then…

“Farther along we’ll know all about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why,
Cheer up my brother, Live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it, all by and by”

Love always,
Smiley Dolly

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 13th, 2014 at 7:33 am and is filed under Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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