Sunday, March 02, 2008

In Memory

I’m sure there are many Christians who die in their sleep and meet Jesus while wearing their pajamas.

But I wonder how many people meet Him wearing pajamas, holding a bowl of chocolate ice cream, fresh from the middle of a Law & Order episode.

I like to think that distinction is my father’s alone. (I also like to believe he found out how that episode ended.)

Though, I’ve no doubt the sight of our Lord’s face was his all consuming thought at that moment.

It seems impossible to believe Monday will mark exactly nine years since my father’s death. It’s hard to think I’ve made it almost a decade without the man who lovingly guided my childhood, instilled my self-confidence, and gave me the gift of a godly heritage.

I remember getting the phone call at college, the hurried rush to the hospital, and the quiet of the room where my father’s earthly body lay still and lifeless.

I was barely out of my teens then. I can’t help looking back and thinking if Dad had lived just one more year, he would have witnessed my graduation from college, the life-long dream he prayed for and sacrificed to achieve. He would have rejoiced at my engagement and proudly walked me down the aisle at my wedding.

I miss him every day, and yet I can’t begrudge a moment of the perfect life he now enjoys in heaven with the only Father who ever loved him unconditionally.

I remember the day I got saved. An evangelist had come to Memorial Baptist Church, and we children were sent to the children’s hour taught by the evangelist’s wife.

Mrs. Gilmore told the story of Christ’s miraculous birth, His death on the cross, His resurrection, and the way to salvation. As I listened, she said something that piqued my five-year-old curiosity.

“Boys and girls, God sent His only Son to die on a cross for you. He loved you so much, even more than your mom or dad, that He sacrificed His perfect Son, so you can put your trust in Him. When you do, you’ll want to live for Him, and someday join Him in heaven.”

When I heard that God loved me even more than my mom and dad, I was speechless. Mainly, because I knew that my parents loved me more than ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD.

My parents had prayed and prayed for my birth for 11 years. I was aware they fully believed my birth was a bona fide miracle.

I had no doubt my parents loved me. They showed me in a million different ways every day. We read books together, played together, and I always felt safe, comforted, and happy.

I had little trouble accepting the concept of a heavenly Father loving and giving unconditionally, since I’d already witnessed that unconditional love from my earthly father.

And perhaps, that is the greatest compliment I can pay him.

I prayed to accept the Lord as my Savior that day, and my parents rejoiced with me, as I raced up and down the church aisles shouting, “I’m saved! I’m saved!”

I miss my dad every day.

I smile wistfully when I see Whoppers, plastic wrap, or Neapolitan ice cream. I remember hundreds of little jokes and good natured teasing. I remember bed time stories, prayers with my parents, and Dad ending every conversation with, “Now don’t forget your daddy loves you!”

I remember hugs, kisses, and peppermint candy. Star Trek and X Files. And, of course, Law & Order.

But most of all what I remember is the man. He didn’t write any books. He never attained fame or fortune. There are no buildings named after him or statues that bear his likeness.

But at his funeral, hundreds of everyday, ordinary people stood in line to pay their respects to a man who cared. A man who loved. A genuine man who lived his life in honesty, sincerity, and the pursuit of bringing glory to His Lord and Savior.

I remember him as God’s gift to me. My father.

My greatest comfort is that I will see him again. Not as my father, but as my brother in Christ. I wait eagerly for that day.

Robert Lawrence Trotter
June 1, 1945 – March 3, 1999

I love you, Dad. And I promise I won’t forget.


WendyJanelle said...

Oh, Ann-Marie, this is such a touching post. Your Dad sounds incredible. God is so amazing to lend us these precious people for a time.
My Dad is also one of the most wonderful people I know. And I remember thinking the same thing: how can anyone love me more than he does?
October has talked about this before. I just cannot imagine what you must have went through. My Dad is 53 right now.

Alice said...

I always like to start the day with a good cry. :-) What honor for your dad. And what glory to know: "I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live. And whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die"!!

Jennittia said...

I write this with tears streaming!! Your dad was truly an amazing man and how beautiful that you have so many wonderful memories of him!! May God bring you and your mom comfort today in a special way.

sturgillcrew said...

Ann-Marie, you have such a way with words! What a wonderful Dad you have and what a wonderful daughter he has! I wish that I could have met your Dad. I know that he has a wife and daughter that are beautiful both outwardly and inwardly. What a blessed man he is!! I love you and am praying for you and your Mom today.

CANDICE said...

I love Uncle Bob. Your dad was an awesome man. Our parents were gifts to us weren't they I'm sure your dad and my mom are singing up in heaven right now. I'd like to imagine at least. Well I will pray for today and for your mother. Love you candice

Juliet said...

Neither will I! There will always be a BIG hole in my heart!

Love and tears, Love Mom

Mom said...

Okay! You made me cry! The memory of the just is blessed - and many were blessed by your dad. Uncle Darryl and I miss him, too. What a joy to know that someday we will meet together again! Aunt Jan

Cindy Swanson said...

Ann-Marie, I didn't really know your dad, but I think he was a wonderful man. My dad died in 2004, and I miss him every day too.

mom2mine said...

I am day late, but I wanted to tell you that I thought of you all day yesterday.

Heidi said...

You know something intersting? My dad was born on May 29, 1945. Only a couple of days before.

SturgillMom said...

Oh Ann-Marie! That was so touching! I had the privilege of meeting your dad, but I wasn't in the family long enough to really get to know him. What I have heard of him is that he was WONDERFUL! And, I am confident that he was because he had two very special women in his life :)

Deb said...

Forgive me for being late on this one, Ann-Marie...I remember your Dad as being such a sweet, kind and caring man. You could definitely tell when we were growing up that he loved you SO much...he's up in heaven now loving you with perfect love and he's smiling down on you today. :)