Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Endings, Part 2

When I wrote Happy Endings, Part 1 last week with the Rangers and Aggies most in mind, I was aware that at any time my dad could die of complications from liver cancer, although I didn't really think that moment was imminent. His last breath on Earth came Sunday morning, and of course the concept of happy endings grew in meaningful complexity.

I will write much more about my Daddy later. I've made a lot of notes but want to take time to reflect before sharing.

For now, I'm aware that there often are no endings; there are just transitions. Winning a World Series or NBA championship or Super Bowl may seem like a happy ending. But in very little time, teams, fans and commentators only care about the next win, not what happened in the past. I was hoping for a happy ending in terms of me maybe watching the Aggies play the University of Oklahoma in Norman on Saturday for the last time before A&M heads to the SEC. But it seems clear to me that if I didn't have to be there when Daddy took his last breath, I don't have to be at that game Saturday. There are many lessons for me in this and elsewhere if I will pay attention. Many potential areas of self-improvement have been revealed to me since my Dad's death. (But a dear friend also reminds me not to be hard on myself.)

Tonight I went to a premiere of a documentary about the life of Wayman Tisdale, a standout OU and NBA basketball player whose first love (outside faith and family) was music, and who had become a successful songwriter and musician on the bass guitar and an engaging concert performer before he died of complications from cancer in May 2009. I learned of the opportunity to attend this on Thursday while I was still in Texas with my family and surprised myself by saying I would go. Although I knew it would touch on some of the kinds of grief and loss my family is dealing with, I knew the sadness would be far surpassed by the inspiration and joy of Wayman's life, legacy and music. And so it was. My dad wasn't famous, but as they showed interviews of Wayman and others talking about Wayman's situation and how he faced it and had lived his life, it made me think of my dad in his much smaller realm of influence and the outpouring of love and friendship with which people responded to his life.

On the way home, I read that a faithful member of my church had also now died after a grueling battle with cancer. I immediately recalled having noticed his wife was one of the prayer team members who had prayed and signed a sympathy card for my family on Monday. There is another lesson and example I must take to heart and seek to learn from.

So, this starts as Happy Endings, Part 2. But it evolves into life goes on, day by day. It reminds me to live each day (and moment) as if it is the first -- and the last. Seek God's guidance; love, worship and serve Him -- part of which comes in loving and caring for people; and give Him the glory, thanks and praise.

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