Two years ago today, my Papa was given the privilege of meeting his Savior face to face. A few days later on Good Friday, we, like the disciples a few thousand years before us, felt the mournful reality of death. But unlike the disciples, we knew the rest of the story. On that darkest of days we rejoiced in knowing that while Papa’s body was laid to rest in the ground, his soul was even then worshipping a Savior who conquered death and promised one day to bring all of His children to His side. Papa got to experience that blessing, a fulfillment of his hopes, a bit before the rest of us. His passing left a jagged hole in all our lives that has healed around the edges in the passing days but still remains a fixed part of our family’s reality.
I spoke at Papa’s funeral about his many roles in the family. He truly was the quintessential patriarch, respected and revered for his wisdom and experience and loved dearly for his ability to make anyone laugh and being so quick to tell his grandchildren, “I am so, so proud of you.”
But the one thing that stuck out to me when I was preparing my speech for the funeral, and what has remained a fixture in my mind when I’ve thought of Papa since that time, was his love of music. I’ll always fondly remember him singing hymns in his favorite church pew in his rich baritone and then laughingly singing “Hit the Road, Jack” on every. single. roadtrip. One of his favorite hymns, or at least one that he seemed to sing most often, was Count Your Blessings. Some of Papa’s last breaths were used asking the Lord for grace. And God in His wisdom granted him that grace by giving him ultimate rest in His presence. This must have been his greatest blessing. But the Lord has continued to bless the Parrish family even in the midst of loss. I told those in attendance at Papa’s funeral that we would get through the days ahead by counting our blessings, and I think it fitting to give thanks, to recognize the graces He has shown, to count our blessings today.
- The Lord has been faithful to us in the past two years without our Papa. His promises have become more real to us, our hope in the resurrection even more vital to our faith.
- Our sweet, sweet Lucy was given to us. I see this as such a tangible reminder that the same Lord that is with His children at the end of life also gives life, and blesses us in ways we couldn’t have imagined.
- One of the most touching ways the Lord has blessed me personally in the past two years has been in the ability for me to watch my godly Nana’s unshakeable faith in the face of such heart-breaking loss. She has remained steady because she has built her life on the firm foundation of our unchanging God rather than the ever-changing circumstances of this life.
Even with these blessings, the past two years have been hard. This day will always carry the sting of loss, the darkness of Good Friday. We will always mourn, but not as those who have no hope. Because Good Friday was when we laid our Papa’s body in the ground. But praise God, Easter morning is a reality we believe in. Friday is dark, but Sunday’s comin’! This is not where the story ends. And until then, through Christ all is grace.