Tomorrow, March 21, would be my father’s 95th birthday, had he not passed away in the summer of 2007. Even though it has been more than two and a half years since his passing, I still miss him. And I am surprised at how often I dream about him, including a dream in the last week. They are always pleasant dreams of us talking and doing things together.
My father was a “common” man; he had no formal schooling beyond high school and spent most of his life working as a farmer. He lived his life in modest houses and indulged in very few luxuries. But he lived a good, fulfilling life.
Hollis Seat, my father, was an active churchman most of his life, especially in the sixty-plus years after moving back to Worth County (MO), where he was born, in the fall of 1945. While farming was his occupation, and he was a good farmer, he spent a lot of time and energy serving Christ through the church; for decades he was a deacon and Sunday School teacher. Through the years he joyfully gave a tithe of his income, and more, for the work of the church.
If anyone goes to Heaven when they die, I have no doubt whatsoever that my father did. But in the time since his passing, it has seemed somewhat strange that I have found little “comfort” in thinking about my father in Heaven.
Maybe it is because it is so hard to visualize exactly what kind of existence a person has in Heaven—there surely are not literal streets paved with gold and gates made of pearls there. Maybe it is because there is so little talk about Heaven now in the society in which we live or even at church. But for whatever reason, I have been surprised in these last two and a half years that I have not found more meaning in thinking of my father (and mother, who passed away in February 2008) in Heaven.
More than being “comforted” by thinking of my father (and mother) in Heaven, I find significance in thinking about the positive influence he had not only on the lives of his children and grandchildren, but on many people in the churches he was a part of and in the communities where he lived.
Maybe Heaven is more meaningful for the loved ones of those who die much younger than my father did or of those who have not lived as good a life as he did. At any rate, as I think of my father now, more than enjoying comforting thoughts because of belief in the afterlife, I find solace in, and am grateful for, the memories of his long life well lived in this world.