It was the navy blue, elastic waist pants that completely choked me up that day, I felt so proud of him.
Everything else about my dad’s attire was normal;
his sturdy, black leather tie shoes,
the button down shirt,
a cardigan for the chill.
But the pants.
Not those pants.
I was taking my parents to Dad’s follow up Doctor appointments in Philadelphia. Almost two months prior, his heart valve repair surgery with an expected 3-6 day hospitalization had turned into having had 4 surgeries, a five week stay, four of those in ICU, plus two more weeks in a skilled nursing rehab facility. An accidental liver laceration had been the first of many and serious complications that had almost cost him his life. It all left my dad completely frail, exhausted, and with a paralyzed vocal cord that necessitated a feeding tube.
And the feeding tube at that time necessitated those pants.
The navy blue, elastic waist pants.
My dad normally wears trousers, never elastic waist pants.
If you were to have seen him that day,
his steps were slow.
He looked older than he is.
More tired than he wanted to be.
Without the cardigan, you could have observed his button down shirt neatly tucked into an elastic waist band.
You could not have known with a glance that you were looking at one of the bravest, most courageous men on the planet, a strong warrior, with much to be bitter about and yet he is not.
There is always a backstory.
And even when we think we know something,
we often and most likely don’t know much.
But remembering that there is a backstory, something we don’t know, isn’t the point. That’s just the thought that should predate what we do and what we say with what we DO know, the golden rule.
We do know how we like to be treated.
While we are individuals and the details of what we each like coming to us are going to vary from person to person, there are still basic foundations that are universal, one size fits all.
A badge of courage, strength, and dignity may not look like what we think.
Sometimes that badge shows up as navy blue, elastic waist pants with a button down shirt on someone who looks tired, maybe even old, and walks slowly in our path.
And don’t miss an opportunity to be who we are to be,
offering what He has for us,
who He is,
t h r o u g h us.
I am so proud of my dad;
his faith, courage, quiet strength and dignity.
And beyond grateful that he is recovering,
we get to keep him longer.
Thank you God