This past year has been a year with a great deal of loss for me. It may have been a loss of dreams, sleep, friends, or family. Today twenty years ago I lost my father to a massive heart attack. We all react to death differently but that day still seems so vivid to me. I was in the mountains of NC. I had rode up to the campground there with family friends. It was my only way at the time to get there for the camp that was starting the next day. When we arrived I was told I could not stay on the campground for the day because the week of camp that was in process would not end until that afternoon some time. It was sunny and a beautiful day. I had no car of my own though and didn't know how I was going to go into town 10 minutes away until I was allowed on the grounds. I had always felt safe there at the campground but that day felt different. A friend of mine graciously lent me his car to go into town and hang out until the afternoon when I would be allowed back on campus. I took off with intentions to have a very relaxing day just hanging out in the park and visiting little stores and an ice cream shop in town that had many childhood memories. I had just finished high school and just finished my first summer job. I wanted to just relax. After a long great day in Blowing Rock, NC, I began to return to the campground to unpack for camp. It had begun to slightly rain but it had been a great day after I had left the campground. As I was driving back though, something just didn't feel right and I couldn't put my finger on it. When I arrived back on campus, I was met at my car by my friend. He told me my pastor was looking for me. I proceeded to walk up the hill to his cabin. When I got there, his five year old daughter was standing on the porch. I asked if she knew where her daddy was. She said "He's down there (pointing) looking for you. Your daddy's dead." As she spoke the door flew open and I yelled "What!!!" I looked up and her mom was standing in the doorway. Her lip was trembling and she began to cry and just shook her head up and down as she couldn't speak. From that moment, I can only remember pieces of the short time after that. My knees buckled and I began to fall as she caught me. I can still feel that feeling of draining shock. She helped me to sit down in the nearest chair and I began to cry still feeling that major drain. A few moments later my pastor walked through the door. He was going to drive me and two of my cousins back down the mountain to my parents home. That feeling of shock didn't leave me for some time. It was days if not weeks. I loved my father but over time I have had to accept he was not perfect as we sometimes think our parents are when we are children. This has been hard for me as we had a love/ hate relationship. The photo above is one of my favorites. It reminds me that he did have good parts. It mostly reminds me though that my Heavenly Father is so much more and He has taught me to love and forgive. It also reminds me that a great loss can sometimes bring a greater gain if we only allow God to work in our lives and our hearts.