Heroes — and Post #500

According to WordPress, this is my 500th post. The count is a bit off due to migrating from Blogger, but I’ll take it.

I wanted to write about heroes for this post. (I actually contemplated a post!) On New Year’s Day I was watching some of the Rose Parade. I’d say I watched all of it, but the telecasts are so skimpy these days I didn’t even see Ohio State’s band!

Heroes make me cry. They really do. There were heroes in the Rose Parade. Captain “Sully” Sullenberger was the grand marshal of the parade. Thinking again of his heroism, along with the flight crew, as they had to ditch a plane in the Hudson and make sure everyone got off safely… it still sends chills down my spine. Sullenberger looks so calm all the time. He was trained for those moments and he responded. Lives were saved because of his heroic action.

Then I saw a float carrying the Tuskegee airmen. They were the unit made up of African American pilots in WWII. Here were men who overcame severe prejudice to do their job and defend our nation. The sacrifice of great men just brings a feeling of deep gratitude.

Those two moments caused me to reflect back on the few days I’d spent with my parents in Kansas for Christmas. My dad had contracted a staph infection and the remedy was two trips to the hospital a day for IV treatments. He would get there by 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day to sit for 90 minutes with an IV stuck in his arm. The antibiotics worked. He is doing well.

While we were in Kansas, I decided to go with him. We’d have at least 3-4 hours a day where we could hang out. Much of the time when he was on the IV he napped a little and we talked a little. We always talked on the drive to and from the hospital. On Christmas morning we even stopped on the way back from the hospital to dig a stranded motorist out of snowbank. Kansas got smacked with a tough snowstorm overnight.

Just hanging out for a few hours a day with a man I deeply love and admire was the best Christmas I could think of for me.

He found out one of his sisters was in a senior care treatment wing at the hospital, so we went up to see her on Christmas Eve. Dad is the youngest of 9 kids. I think there are 4 or 5 still living. Each of the siblings have had their “issues” over the years. I can remember times when some sister wasn’t talking to some brother and no one would know why. Yet, in the middle of all the problems, my dad would be the constant. (My Uncle Marshal was the oldest and ironically, he and Dad were probably the closest. I was the closest to Uncle Marshal before he past away. Both of them seemed to be the reconcilers of the family.)

His sister had been in a care facility in St. Joseph, MO, her hometown. Somehow she ended up in this care unit. Dad knew she had been battling some dementia, so we didn’t know if she would recognize him. We went anyway. Dad just needs to make sure people are doing okay.

We entered the care unit and signed in. As we went down the hall looking for her room, we passed a woman in a wheelchair. I hadn’t seen her in over 30 years so I had no idea what she would look like. Dad didn’t see the woman in the wheelchair because he was looking for her room. Dad passed the wheelchair first. The woman in the chair looked up and her eyes lit up. It was his sister. She called out to him.

Dad turned around and knelt there. Her eyes were bright, she knew his name and a smile broke out on her face.

That moment only confirmed again what I’ve known for years. My dad is a hero. He is truly a great man. His love for God and love for people is so genuine that even family members battling dementia can recognize who he is. It is something beyond his physical stature. It is his character. It is the Spirit of Christ working in him.

He talked with her for a few minutes and prayed. We left, but I know he’ll be back on a regular basis to see her as long as she is in that unit. He cares.

Heroes aren’t always about the moment. They are about the journey. My dad has taken a lifelong journey filled with the grace of God. He readily admits it. He knows God has watched out for him all these years and all the blessings he has are only because God has given these to him.

Heroes make me cry. I don’t always cry around my dad, but I sure tear up thinking about how he has impacted so many lives.

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