In honor of Thanksgiving I would like to express my gratitude for the life of my father, Benjamin Greenwaldt. When I entered this world, my dad was fifty years old. I like to say that I was the best surprise my parents ever got. I can vaguely remember my toddler years where he would comb my hair and rock me in the rocking chair while he sang me old country songs. As a young boy, my father worked on his family farm and only received an eighth grade education in order to help his family. As a father, my dad worked hard to provide for my mom and us kids. I remember getting up early to have cereal with him before he left for his shift at Chrysler. Then I would go back to bed. He retired when I was twelve years old. I was a little bit of a tom boy. We used to fish and catch night crawlers. We spent summers camping and visiting relatives in Minnesota and North Dakota. We spent a lot of time in Wisconsin too. He taught me how to drive and trusted me with independence. He dabbed my tears with his handkerchief on my wedding day and held my newborn children.
The blessing of having 6 years of retired life with my dad does not come without a price, however. This awesome story is filled with battles of cancers, heart disease, surgeries and almost deadly allergic reactions. And sadly, this awesome story is about to end soon.
You see, my whole life most people assumed my parents were my grandparents and I was well aware of their age. I secretly plotted my back up plan of what sibling I was going to go live with when my parents died. And as each year passed and that didn’t happen, I would thank God and ask for just a little more time. Now, asking for more time isn’t needed anymore, because he has been there for every moment I could have ever imagined.
My dad, now eighty-four is in hospice care. He says he’s ready to go and that he’s lived a good life. He has fought every illness that has ever attacked him and won, but now his body is no longer able to fight.
Somehow, I’m at peace with it. At first I wasn’t sure why I am not so shook up, emotional or distraught. Then I thought it was because it was something that I had been preparing for a long while. Then Sunday night it hit me. As I read Luther’s commentary on Romans for my History of Christian Thought class, I read, “Faith is a living, unshakable confidence in God’s grace.”
Faith is why I am able to watch his once strong body become frailer and paler by the day. Faith is why I don’t break down at the possibility it might be his last hug. And faith is why I have no fears of what tomorrow will bring.
Thank you God, for being a God of never ending grace.