Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I am his t.d.

Tiny dancer.

While I am most certainly no longer tiny, and the way I move could not be termed dancing by any stretch of the imagination, there was a time when my constant little-girl movements brought delight to my Papa.

He nicknamed me t.d. because I could not stop dancing. Any music would inspire me; John Denver's "The Eagle and the Hawk", or "Love, Crucified, Arose" by Michael Card. Away I flew - great leaps and twirls, arms perfectly rounded above my head. I could not help it - it overwhelmed me. I brought him delight, for we are so alike, and the emotion we both felt to the music and words made itself apparent very differently in us - mine in joyful dance, his through playing the violin, or writing poetry.

My Papa is a quiet presence. Kind eyes, gentle hands, dry humor. I have loved his tender heart since the day I was born - for I have it, too. I could never stand to see him hurt, nor could I bear his sadness. Even my Mama earned some scorn from me when she would get after him for something; he could do no wrong in my eyes.

Through my grown-up eyes, I can see him more clearly now. Certainly there are weaknesses, as there are in all of us. But pulling him down from his pedestal does not disappoint me; it brings him closer to my level for bigger hugs, and more grace for both of us. At different times he has expressed his sadness in not being what he should have been, and I step back and gesture towards our family, and tell him, "Look what we are!" For his 4 sons and 4 daughters walk in Truth. We walk in unity. We are friends, and we are siblings; we are children, with children. We are who we are in honor of his fathering, faithfulness, and prayers on our behalf.

Monday afternoon, my Papa had a heart attack; so close were we to losing him. The doctors refer to it as the "Widowmaker" for its' lightning fast fatality - even they are in amazement that he has no damage, just arterial work to be done. My prayer from the moment I got the phone call was, "Reverse it, Lord. Reverse it." He heard.

Tomorrow, Papa will be wheeled into an operating room for open heart bypass surgery. As we wait for tomorrow to come, we draw together, eating meals together, taking turns sitting with Mama in the waiting room, in constant prayer for what will be undertaken in the morning.

I find delight in watching my youngest sister Maddie's God-given defense mechanism at work - she talks of wondering how it would feel to have her papa die; unaware that the question is one we don't even want to voice. She is basking in the extra attention that comes at a time like this, and sometimes seems completely oblivious to what is going on; still playing with her dolls and riding her imaginary horses. She is at peace, so trusting. I seek it.

Please pray for us, friends. Pray for the doctors hands, and minds. Pray for my Papa's body to be strong, and recover fully. Pray for my Mama's heart, her emotional heart, as she walks through this with her beloved. Pray for all of their children, as we seek God's answer of "Yes!" to extending the life of our father. And please pray for me and my family, as I will be staying here, an hour and a half from my husband and sons, until my presence is no longer needed.

As I left his hospital room Monday evening, Papa called, "I sure do love you, my t.d."

If I could dance for him, I would. Instead I hold up my loving husband, delightful children and happy countenance for him to rejoice in. My heart dances in response to the music of my life, made sweeter, more peaceful, and more beautiful by the faithfulness of my Papa.

Papa holding my daughter, Eliana Pearl.

11 fellow travelers shared:

Katie Eagy said...

Whew! Lots of tears while reading this one, Elise! We love your Papa dearly and have been praying...Ryan and I will continue with fervent prayer. Again, we love you!

Stacy said...

I'm quite teary myself.
And I will lift up your family, and most especially your father, in prayer.

Bethany said...

Oh Elise!
I started to cry again!
Almost as hard as when he calmly told me that he had called the ambulance. (Another prayer for Papa is peace before he goes into surgery, he told me that he was fearing the time)

Cindi said...

We will pray for your Papa.

Lyn said...

Prayers coming to you and your family. Since I am still on the walk with my dear friend who lost her 34 yr old husband to a "widowmaker" in July, my heart breaks and rejoices for you. Breaks that your family had to come so close but rejoicing that it was "reversed"! Amen. Stay strong, stay safe and stay close to your family.

And thanks for sharing the pictures. THAT is what made me cry!!!!

Miriam said...

Dear Elise! I am praying for your Papa and you all as well. My dear father just had 5 bypasses in September (came out really well!), so I feel your pain and hope. Beautiful post.

Munchkin Land said...

I am so sorry to hear about your Papa. OF COURSE, I will be keeping you and your family in my prayers.

Andrea said...

Praying, Elise.

Debi said...

I know exactly where you are, because I was there with my dad a few years ago....praying for you all of you.

Kate said...

I've been where you are, as well. My dad had triple bypass surgery years ago when we were living up there in Idaho. I flew home immediately! Hallelujah that you are close enough to your family to drive! You are in my prayers, Elise, and I know the Lord is working on all of your hearts right now--not just your Papa's. Love you!

Jessica said...

My dad's birthday is today...I am so thankful for him! :)

You all are in my prayers! :)

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