Hey, “Bert!” It’s me. Just a quick note to try and sort out my thoughts after this whirlwind last couple of days.
First of all, I want to thank you for being the most trusting person of me I have ever known. It is undoubtedly and easily my favorite trait in you. I am so sorry there have been times I betrayed that childlike trust for the sake of a few laughs. As you know, we have an oft-told story in our family that best illustrates the innocent faith you have always had in me.
It was your 14th birthday. Our entire family was getting in the van to go somewhere and I handed you a bicycle helmet.
You: “What’s this for?”
Me: “You’re 14 now.”
Me: “Well, in West Virginia, all children between the ages of 14 and 18 must wear a helmet while riding in a motor vehicle. It’s a state law.”
You: “Oh, okay.”
I still remember watching in the rear-view mirror as you adjusted your chin strap, unaware that your sisters were all rolling their eyes and laughing because they knew it was your turn to be the butt of one of my many jokes. Again, I am so sorry to have done that to you, but you have to admit, there was never a dull moment growing up in our family.
As my oldest child, you always had the enormous responsibility of being a trailblazer for your four younger sisters. You were the first to chip away at the sometimes crazy, unrealistic and unreasonable expectations I originally envisioned for my children. Looking back, I see that it was silly to expect you to wait until you were 18 to date (or even talk to!) boys. Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s a great idea, I am just admitting it was silly for me to expect you or any of your sisters to buy into it.
Now you find yourself once again paving the way for your sisters as all of you enter into that phase of your lives where you begin to suffer the effects of your earthly bodies growing older. I cannot imagine the confusion, sadness and uncertainty you must be experiencing as you deal with the fact you recently had three unexplained strokes which caused possibly irreversible blindness in your right eye. As any parent, my heart breaks for you and I wish there were some way I could bear this burden on your behalf.
Despite the times I have taken advantage of your trust in me and the countless times I have let you down, I’m asking you to trust me one more time when I tell you this: Like you, I am unable to understand many of the bad things that happen in our earthly lives. But I promise you that, unlike this imperfect father, your Father in Heaven will never, ever let you down and you can give Him your complete trust that He has a plan for your life and all will be okay in the end. Please know that He is powerful enough to completely restore your sight and to keep you from having more strokes if that is His plan. Please know that He loves you even more than I do, though it is hard for me to imagine. Please know that while I am there holding your hand through this trial, He will be CARRYING you. Trust me…
Still love you to the moon and back infinity times,