I am going through old papers. You know, that box in the back of the closet with papers I have saved for years, but never look at?
Well, I am so thankful I did not give in to my first impulse and throw it all away. I have thrown away some, (why in the world did I save it in the first place?) but I found a treasure, something that really touched my heart.
A letter from my father.
Carol Strobeck and I were in Hawaii for Christmas break of our junior year of college. We had the wonderful opportunity to visit the family of a college friend, Pam Grindle, whose parents lived in Hawaii during the winter months. (their home was in Alaska)
My father wrote to me and it is such a snapshot of his personality – warm, funny, personal, and thoughtful. My father had spent time in Hawaii during WW II while training on his way to the Pacific theater. He eventually served on Guam, Okinawa, and other small islands in his role as a weather man for the Air Corps of the Army. He had such wonderful memories of Hawaii and he was so pleased that I had the opportunity to go there.
As I recall, my father only wrote to me twice, so I am thankful I saved this letter from 1972. (I was 20, 47 years ago!)
Here is part of what my father wrote –
“I wonder if you felt like I did in the islands. I think I can describe. When I first experienced the beauty and the general atmosphere of the place I felt a gentleness and softness of the atmosphere that seemed very delicate and wonderful. I often think that the feeling of enjoyment I sensed when I first took in the beauty of the islands was just a slight introduction and foretaste of what God has been preparing for you and me and all of us in the form of Heaven for our eternal reward.”
It is not surprising to me or anyone who knew my father that the natural beauty of Hawaii stirred his heart. He devoted his life and career to studying and teaching the wonder of God’s creation.
My father lived with eternity on his mind. He went on to his eternal reward in 2016 at 91 years of age. Now he has more than the “foretaste” of Heaven, he is experiencing the reality.
9 But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”— I Corinthians 2:9
The greatest gifts my father gave me, besides his unconditional love, was his love for God and his contagious love of nature. I caught both extravagantly.