Yesterday my dad would have turned 67. He died in 2014 from several aggressive cancers. After his diagnosis they gave him two years to live… maybe. Then a year. Then six months. He almost lasted two.
Have you experienced the death of someone you care about? I’m sure you have. If so, you know it can be tough to work through. Despite popular opinion, things never “go back to normal.” You just do you best to adjust to life being different.
For me, I miss my dad’s daily presence. I can still remember how he would peek his head into my room at 5 a.m. when I was young to say, “Matthew, time to get up” as we set out for another small-town Ontario hockey tournament. And I remember his strong arms lifting me out of the car when we got home late because I was fast asleep.
As an adult, he was present in different ways. He was no philosopher. But he worked hard and offered unconditional support. Just like my mom, he was always there when you needed him.
When American President Ronald Reagan was running for his second term in office some people were known to say, “Ronald Reagan, right or wrong.” It was a statement of unconditional loyalty to Reagan. In the same way, my dad demonstrated unconditional loyalty to his family. Right or wrong, he was ours and we were his.
So why am I saying this today?
Your presence is powerful. More powerful than you think. In Romans 12:15 we read, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” To that list I would add, “Bandage scraped knees, pick up the phone, and share a laugh because life is short.”
For your presence to be powerful in someone’s life, you don’t have to know all the right answers, have an impressive resume, or be “successful” in the eyes of the world.
You just have to be there.
And that, to someone, is water in the desert.
By Matthew Ruttan