“You have granted me life and favor, and your providence has preserved my spirit.”
The morning finally came. My dad was in for the surprise of a life and I was giddy with excitement. Since our usual routine was to drop my daughter, Sophia, off at my parent’s house for them to babysit while I worked, we’d be there at the usual time. Chris and his wife, Rachel, would follow behind us in a separate car, park and wait a couple of minutes for us to get settled in the house (i.e. secretly get our cameras ready). When Chris knocked on the door, we’d make sure my dad answered it. My sister, Kim and her family along with my brother, Duane and his wife, Vanessa, would just ‘happen’ to be there visiting, which made sense because my dad had just arrived from Samoa.
When Jim and I walked in, my dad was sitting at his computer searching the airlines for flights. My mom gave me this look like, “HELP! He’s about to book a flight for this afternoon!” My dad was talking with excitement, I didn’t think he had slept a wink since he found out we had found them. He has had a couple of phone conversations with Chris and Dani, but not seeing them in the flesh was making him crazy. Only two more minutes, dad, just two more minutes and you’ll get to see Chris.
“I’ve waited 25 years to see my kids. I’m not waiting another week.”
“I know Dad. Don’t you think it’d be nice to spend time with them when they don’t have to go to work every day?” I was trying to stall him before he hit the “purchase” button on the tickets.
“Aren’t you going to answer the door?”
“Go ahead, Dad. It’s probably for you.” My dad gave me a weird look and then went over and opened the door.
We were all looking at other trying to hold back our smiles. Every one of us knew who was standing on the other side of the door. Dad sure didn’t.
“Hey, Dad, can I borrow the keys to your truck?” Chris stood about 6 inches taller than my dad. He had the same hair, eye color and nose.
My dad stood there speechless. We all waited for a response but nothing came out.
“Dennis, do you want to invite him in?” my mom was tugging on his shirt sleeve.
We all started to laugh and my dad reached up to give Chris that hug that he had waited 25 years to do. I can’t imagine what my dad must have been thinking or feeling. His last memories of him were when he was just an eight year old boy and now he was in his 30’s. That has got to be bizarre.
Thank you, God. Thank you for this moment. I know that this could only be work done by you! My heart was bursting with so many different kinds of emotion. I was happy! I was beyond happy; elated, excited, nervous, relieved and certainly humbled. This was God’s work. The Holy Spirit was with us all along in the search and was certainly in the room that morning. The son my dad had grieved for decades was finally embraced in his arms.
Watching Dad and Chris reunite left a big empty spot in my heart. I really wanted Dani to be here today too. I had to keep reminding myself that this is God’s timing. His timing is always perfect and, soon enough, Dani would be embraced in Dad’s arms too.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank You for another day in this life. I praise and worship You, the creator of the universe, the almighty God. With You, my Lord, everything is possible. I am incredibly humbled that You have done the work You have in my family. You returned my brother and sister to us so that our hearts could be mended and healed. Help us never to forget that. Help us to love one another and to be kind and gentle. Remind us to always put each other’s needs before our own. I ask that You keep us unified in love and teach us how to grow in your likeness. Thank You for our gifts, especially the greatest gift of all, You. In your precious name I pray,
“P.S. Dad’s surprise party was a hit! We had so many family and friends come from near and far. When my dad walked into the clubhouse, the customary, “SURPRISE!” was yelled and then followed by the not so customary, “gasps…” and the whispers of, “Oh my gosh, is that…Chris?”
Yes, friends and family, it was Chris.
P.P.S.S. Thanks again to all of the friends and family who joined us during this special time in our lives! I’d love to hear any of your memories that you have in the comment section below!