My Papa has been my whole world since I can remember. When I was 4 he took me down to the creek and showed me how to skip rocks. When I couldn’t exactly skip them, we resorted to just throwing them in the water under the bridge.
When I was learning how to ride a bike, he ran beside me.
When I was learning how to drive a car he took me to the steepest hill at Holly Lake, put on the parking brake and told me to let out the clutch slowly. Then he rolled his eyes when the car died.
He took me fishing down at the dock.
He took me skiing on spring break.
He played volleyball with me when it was volleyball season.
He ran with me during cross country season.
I watched him build a house for three years, then five years later sell it and move to a house two blocks down and re-model it.
There’s never been a task too hard, an order too tall or a request of mine un-granted. He was never too busy, too broke or too tired to be with me.
And I’m a better woman because of it.
A couple weeks ago my Papa got sick. It was just a cough, runny nose, you know, the crud you get this time of year. He got some antibiotics and we thought that would take care of it.
The cough passed, but then he developed annoying hiccups for an entire week. He went to 2 doctors seeking relief and the cause to this annoyance.
Then he started not making sense.
He lives just down the road from me, so I went over there and bandaged his wounds, but I wondered what was happening. This was not normal.
The next morning he was worse. I brought him to my house so I could keep an eye on him. He slept on the couch for a couple hours. Then he said he needed to go to the bathroom.
I told him I would help him, so he grabbed my arm and we made our way to the bathroom. But when we got to the hallway I had to switch angles because we couldn’t both fit through the doorway side by side.
That’s when it happened. His grip loosened from my arm, his eyes closed and he collapsed to the floor with a thud, hitting his head on the doorknob on the way down.
I screamed. I thought it was over.
My husband was in the other room and ran over to help. Thankfully, he was still conscious. We managed to plop him down on the couch and call an ambulance.
Once he was admitted into the hospital, we found his blood pressure was way low, his blood count was way low, his blood thickness was way too thin and he was way dehydrated.
Yet miraculously, he was alive.
After several blood transfusions, fluid, medicine and prayers, his levels have almost made it to the normal range.
Yet, he hates all this fuss over him. He’s always been the one taking care of other people and now he needs people taking care of him. It’s humbling.
He keeps asking this heart-breaking question: Is it worth it? Is living worth all this fuss? I don’t want to be a burden. Is it worth it?
My husband told him “It’s worth it because God says it is. We choose to agree with Him.”
I’ve told him his value to me isn’t based on what he can do for me. It’s not based on what he’s bought me for Christmas or even all the good memories we have together. He is valuable to me because he is my Papa.
Yes, I am thankful for all the things and experiences we’ve had together. So. Thankful. But even if those were stripped away, he is still valuable to me.
I would do anything in the world for him. Caring for him is not a burden, but rather an honor.
I think at times we can wonder the same thing. Is it worth it? Is life worth all this fuss? Will the pain ever subside? Will life get back to “normal” again? Is it worth it?
We want to know if we’re valued for what we do or for who we are. Do you love me because I’ll gladly buy your dinner or because I’m Julie Steck?
God says He loves me because I’m His child. His daughter. Not because I’ve done good works or look good in green or grew up going to church. I’ve accepted that His Son died in my place, that all my sins died with Him and now I am clean.
So yes, in that and that alone I have hope when all seems lost.
Just like my Papa I am valued even when I am utterly unable to repay the favor.
Humbling? Yes. But so beautiful.
I love you Papa. You still continue to teach me. We’ll hold on until the Lord calls you home. He hasn’t called yet, so you have more life to live and naturally more life to give.