Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Last Gift

After my father died my family was left with the emotionally trying and seemingly insensitive task of clearing out his house. Weeks after my last trip my uncle called to tell me that he located a bicycle. It made me smile because I couldn't imagine my dad riding a bike. I told my uncle that during one of my last conversations with my dad I mentioned wanting to get a bike. My uncle responded, "I think you have one. This is a woman's bike and it's brand new."

My dad's last gift was a bit too much for me to handle. I hesitated taking it with me and when I did, it reminded me of all that wouldn't be. That bike was stolen moments. He would never give it to me. He would never ask repeatedly if I'd ridden it yet. He would never ask if I liked it. I stalled as long as I could. I eventually took that bike, dragged it up to the third floor, and put it in a room. That bike, like my emotions, belonged behind a closed door, out of my way so I wouldn't have to see nor deal with it.

Life is difficult and uncomfortable and inconvenient. Circumstances and relationships change. Feelings get hurt. We face lack, betrayal, disappointment, distance, pain, illness, and death. While we get to choose how we deal with life's lessons and who will walk with us, in order to grow, we all have to open the door and face our truths.

I could keep that door closed, but I—nor anyone else who visited—would never fully enjoy where I live. I could be saddened by the idea of moments that never were or be encouraged by the many moments that we shared. I could look at that bike as a symbol of loss and sadness or as a representation of my father's thoughtfulness and love. I could think of that bike as the last gift my father would ever give me or I could think of how wonderful it is that I had a father who listened, gave from his heart, and thought of me more than I imagined. That bike may be the last gift he purchased, but it is not the last gift he gave.

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