Sunday, October 25, 2015

My Dad & Psalm 23

My Dad and Psalm 23.
While driving to church on Sunday morning I was listening to a sermon on the radio about Psalm 23, “The Shepherd’s Psalm.” My mind wandered back to November 2005 when I had flown back to Scotland from Tasmania to be beside my dad who was on his deathbed at age 83. He had his eyes closed but he seemed to be listening intently to me as I told him how much I loved him and how much I appreciated how good a dad he was to me as I was growing up. 

I mentioned to him some of my happy memories, such him taking us swimming at Dumbarton's Brock Baths in winter, Craig’s Pool at Glen Fruin as well as Loch Lomond at Balloch countless times in summer. I held his hand in mine as I spoke softly to him, knowing that these were his very last days. At that moment he was the centre of my universe as I concentrated hard on finding the right words, though the words just bubbled up from somewhere deep within and overflowed like the clear waters of Pappert Well. 
Dad had been a committed Communist. (I had asked him point blank one time may years before if he was a Communist and was shocked when he had answered unequivocally in the affirmative! To me Communism and Atheism are synonymous terms! God-less Communism is the antithesis of God-centred Calvinism.)  He had worked in the shipyards on the “Red Clydeside” and had mingled with those who wanted the workers of the world to unite! Anyway, I couldn’t understand how he had been happy to attend church on Sunday and even wax eloquent about doing the “reading “ in church and how the King James’ Version of the Bible was the most beautiful, noble and poetic of all the versions of the Bible. He was as happy pulling the rope that rang the bell  to beckon Sunday-worshippers to Jamestown Parish Church, part of the Church of Scotland.
“Dad, you know Psalm 23? The Lord is my Shepherd? Are you able to say those words – ‘the Lord is MY Shepherd’? Is He your Shepherd? Is Jesus your Shepherd? He says He’s the Good Shepherd? Are you trusting in Him even now? ‘Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale, yet will I fear none ill, for Thou art with me; and Thy rod and staff me comfort still.’ [Revised Church Hymnal, Psalm 23]. Dad, trust Him. Trust Him even now dad. He’ll look after you even now as you go through that dark valley.”
I prayed with my dad, I prayed for him, asking that my God, our God would look after him. Did my dad actually hear me say all of this? I believe so. But more importantly, God heard! I look forward to seeing my dad (and my mum) in glory...
Thank You Lord that I was able to be with my dad just before he died.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

How God Looked After a Numbskull Like Me!

It was a Monday morning about 0745 and I was watching the news on TV, replying to an email as I was Facebooking, (multitasker that I am!) when my mobile phone began ringing (or, more accurately, it began playing music). I answered it and it was a friend on the other that I was supposed meet up with at Brisbane airport. I could hear airport sounds in the background. “Are you there already?” said I. I went on, “Doesn’t the flight leave at 1200?” “No,” was my friend’s gentle reply, “That’s when it arrives in Sydney.” There was a silent but very pregnant pause at my end as I tried to suppress the panic that was setting in. “I’m on my way!”

The airport was a good hour away in the busy morning traffic and I still had to shower, pack my case and order a taxi. What should I do first? I was like the man who jumped on his horse and galloped off in all directions at once! I had twisted my knee a few days before and it was causing me a bit of discomfort not to mention a great deal of distraction. Should I take my crutches? No! How can I lug a suitcase while balancing on crutches?
Still dripping wet and with suitcase in hand I climbed into the taxi and asked him to get me to the airport a.s.a.p. He didn’t speed but he was expert at getting ahead of the busy traffic. It was all going fairly well until we hit the motorway. Bumper to bumper backed up to the back-of-beyond! I called my friend and told him that I wouldn’t make the flight. I phoned someone to have me put on the next soonest flight to Sydney. Bummer!

We must have broken some sort of record for getting to the airport through rush-hour traffic but alas! It was too late as the check-in closes at least half an hour before boarding. I felt like old Chester in Gunsmoke must have felt as he limped as fast as he could to warn Marshal Dillon of some impending danger in Dodge City! It is all fancy computer-booking and checking-in of baggage at Qantas in Brisbane Airport. A nightmare for a troglodyte like me! However, I did pluck up enough courage to ask the nice young airport lady to assist me with all of that technical stuff. Glory be! The flight I was supposed to be on had been delayed and she was able to get me on my original flight! Woohoo! (multiplied by ten!)
I limped through the airport security metal scan and replaced my belt, mobile phone, keys etc. and met with my friend and we sat and drank coffee in the fancy Qantas lounge of which he is a gold-card-holding member. My heat-rate slowed down to my usual rate (which is that of a lizard's on a cold morning!) I sometimes wonder if I'm alive at times and love it when I feel my heart beating after completing some adrenalin feat. Yeah, like just before I twisted my knee playing indoor-soccer and they carried my off in excruciating pain.  I was full of life-in-abundance until my knee decided it didn't want to be on my team anymore! I digress... 

As you do I used “the wee boy’s room” before we headed towards the boarding gate. “Rats! Where’s my wedding ring?” I love those new Dyson hand-driers where you place your hands into the thing and the air actually dries your hands! How original! Beats hands down those useless hair-dryer things that only pretend to but never really dry your hands. I digress again... Anyway, alas! My thirty-four year old wedding ring was not there! Did someone see it and pick it up? Did they hand it in somewhere? Cripes! I dawned on me that my wife would be wondering what I was up to when she discovered I’m not wearing my ring! Why do the innocent have to feel guilty when they are still innocent? Anyway, I didn’t have to explain too much as it turned out that I had left my ring on my dresser at home. My wife just wondered why I hadn't put it on before I left. Well, a hurried and harried person tends to be an addled person.
When I arrived at the conference I was assigned a room about a kilometre away from the venue and it would involve a bit of walking back and forth sometimes in the dark. Dragging my suitcase behind me I limped back and asked for a room next to the venue. I was upgraded and now had a room that included Wifi and an ensuite! This I appreciated very much but my knee didn't appreciate the long walk. However, the extra pain was a small price to pay for the extra creature comforts!
I’m always amazed at how God looks after a numbskull like me!