As I sit here at the computer with my youngest son near me at the table a multitude of memories and mixed emotions swirl around me like leaves in one of those mini whirlwinds. We’re heading to the funeral home in a few hours for the visitation portion of burying my father. Like most people who go through this ordeal the last couple of days have been weird to say the least. Making arrangements with my siblings, going through old photographs and making preparations for the funeral keep you busy and don’t really allow you time to think. In some respects that’s probably a good thing but as I have a few moments this morning I can feel those thoughts and feelings trying to break out of the temporary holding cell I’ve pushed them into in the back of my mind and heart.
The first and greatest of those is this huge hole in my heart that the passing of my dad has left.
I know I’m stating the obvious but Dad has always been a large presence in my life in many ways including physically (if you know him you know he was a quite large man and he’d be the first to make a joke about that). He truly was larger than life physically and spiritually. A Baptist Preacher, he has been my pastor and spiritual mentor for literally my entire life. He named me after two of his biggest spiritual heroes. King David, a man after God’s own heart and Manley Beasely, the man that led both he and my mom to the Lord. He named me after those men because more than anything he and Mom wanted me to be a man of God.
Carter started me on this release of memories and emotions as he crawled into the our king-sized bed this morning. It took me back to a time when I crawled into a king-sized bed with my father and he led me to the Lord. It was after a Wednesday night service and Dad was just relaxing a bit and I needed to talk about the stirrings that were going on in my heart. We ended up praying and I asked the King of the World to come into my heart and He did and I’ve never been the same.
That moment insured that my earthly father and I would spend eternity in heaven with our Heavenly Father.
My son, my king-sized bed and my tender heart all combined to flood my mind and heart with emotions that I’ve tried to keep at bay. My son has also asked Jesus into his heart making him the fifteenth and final grandchild of Papaw and Nana Mac to join the covenant of blood that we have with the King of Kings. The knowledge that we all will be with Dad again in heaven is the reason that I have peace and even joy during this time of great loss for us. Thinking about Dad being with his beautiful wife and adoring parents again fills me with that unspeakable joy that God has promised and faithfully delivered.
A Favorite Memory
As we all do I have many many fond memories of my dad. One of my favorites is of a basketball season when I was in High School. Our team wasn’t very good and towards the end of the season when we had away games, which were often two or three hours away, by the time the varsity boys played (my team) there weren’t many fans left on our side of the gym. In fact, there were some games when the only people sitting on our visiting side of the bleachers was our girls team. Well, our girls team and one man. My Dad. He would be there cheering on his second son. He was always very loud up there with encouragement for me and advice for the referees.
To this day the memory of his unconditional support, during a dismal losing season when most other people chose not to bother, brings tears to my eyes and fills me with a deep appreciation and gratitude to my Heavenly Father for gifting me with a wonderful, caring God chasing father.
Thank you, Robert Eugene McFarland of Beaumont Texas.
You’ve always been my very own personal Texas Ranger protecting me from harm and discouragement with your prayers and endless words of encouragement.
You often told me you were proud of me. You knew how important it was for me to know that. Well Dad, I’ve always been proud of you too. I have a feeling my team mates back in the day were a little envious of my biggest fan and personal cheering section.
I love you and I can’t wait to see you again,
David Manley McFarland