My father at the end of World War II.
Life goes on as I sit in a flood of memories today. It is not a slow backup of thoughts from a lifetime but a torrent of rushing thoughts covering over sixty years. I sit with my mom and dad in a rest home. My mom is faithfully attending the needs of my dad who is struggling with the affects of Parkinson disease.
Sometimes he remembers and sometimes he doesn’t. The sparkle of a smile and the squint of wit continue despite the struggles. The friendly wave of patients shuffling past the open door. Respect and dignity are the values most sought along with attention and a listening ear. The Encore Western channel continues to roll from one saga to the next. A quick pat on the arm and the words I wuv you between my mom and dad. Then a kiss on the lips. Sixty five years of marriage have built a bond that is inseparable.
Daddy talks to people who are not there and recognizes work that needs to be completed in the corners of the ceiling and the yard beyond the window. His mind continues to process the carpentry work he conducted for over seventy years. He measures a length, from his bed, to cut some trim needed to complete his project. What a joy to watch as his mind continues down familiar paths. His work ethic and diligence to complete a job has not dimmed with the disease. Neither has his respect of others.
I loved the sparkle of my dad’s eye when he put down a domino in the game of train last week. The same twinkle and crooked smile was typical of my dad when we played board games as teens. Parcheesi, Sorry and other games that he relished and just as often won. It was the same with Jack and Bonnie Matthews when they played a weekly game of canasta on Durfey street in Jackson, Mississippi.
In moments like this a lifetime seems just like a vapor. But the recollections are rich with warmth, smiles, laughter and tears. I am deeply thankful for the gifts of God through my parents. My love of Christ came from their faithful attendance in church and a moment when I was eight years old in our living room. That was the day I prayed to receive Christ. I can only hope that my life will have such a deep affect in the lives of the missionaries we serve.
Our return home from Africa has produced a significant amount of travel and activity. The last two months of ministry has continued in Missouri and Florida with the Area One Camps. What a joy to see hundreds of young people come to a deeper understanding of Jesus.
At the same time multiple personal issues have swirled around us with the veracity of a tornado. We ask for your prayers as we walk these difficult paths.
Four decade veteran of youth ministry in churches, Youth For Christ and now is the Founder and Executive Director of Deeper Still Missions. Danny and his wife Cathy spend most of their time mentoring missionaries in Africa, Europe, Central America and North America. Future opportunities include South America and the Asia Pacific area.