My dad and I took great walks together. When I was a little girl, we walked in his garden. The corn stalks grew way over my head and my dad protected me. "Don't move!" he commanded. Stopped in my tracks, I looked down to see a big black snake at my feet. Walks in the garden weren't so fun once I realized a snake resided there. In the winter we would walk up snowy hills and ride down on the old wooden Flexible Flyer sled. Dad would lie on his tummy and I would lie on top of him holding on for dear life as we sped down icy slopes. What fun! As we grew older we had longer walks and talks about life and unseen snakes and lions that prowl around seeking to devour naive young girls.
I have a picture to commemorate one of our best treks. On Dad's 87th birthday we walked 27 holes of golf and Dad shot the best score of his life--two over par. Now that was a memorable day as shown from the ear-to-ear grin on Dad's sweet face photographed, framed, and placed predominately on my piano.
It was only a few months later Dad became sick. We sat together in stillness knowing our days together would soon end. The twinkle in his eye sparkled as his mouth looked up in a grin. "Let's take a walk," he suggested. I think in Dad's heart he pushed himself for one last walk with his daughter. We shuffled down the hospital corridor. With one hand he held onto me. With the other, he held the IV pole. We talked about all the walks we had taken. I said the best walk had been the 27 holes of golf on his 87th birthday. He disagreed, saying the best walk was walking me down the church aisle to marry my husband. Our eyes were wet then as they were now. I made a joke about his wanting me married so he wouldn't have to pay my dental bills. But we both knew Dad was giving his blessing and approval of the man we both loved--my husband.
Dan and I treasure our long walks. Walking together is a priority to keep our bodies and our marriage in good shape. Our hands and hearts touch as we walk and talk about life--how good it has been, and how blessed we are by our love. Sometimes, we encourage each other by pointing out lions and snakes the other might be missing. We leave nothing unsaid, for we never know which walk will be our last.
Death can come at any time. It came quickly for my Dad. The walk down the hospital hall was our last walk together. Shortly after, Dad was peacefully ushered to Heaven by God.
Must be God likes walks too. "I will walk among you and be your God." He says in Leviticus 26:12 (NIV). God walked in the garden with Adam and warned him of snakes. I don't think God ever meant us to take a step without Him. He knows what lies ahead on our trail and he desires to talk to us, bless us, and protect us from lions and serpents. Sometimes He'll pick us up and carry us when we grow weary on the journey. Most important, I don't think there will be any disagreement that the best walk will be that last walk when He ushers His followers to Heaven.
If your dad is still on earth--enjoy a walk with him this Father's Day. Time is too precious to miss out on those memories.