Being a Provider

Fears, Life and Happiness, Religion

I’m taking my Dad for surgery today. He’s been having back pain and leg numbness for over a year now and finally was given the go-ahead for surgery. It’s a pretty simple procedure really. Here are the details if you are so inclined. The doctor fully expects him to be home tomorrow and able to drive and go about normal activities almost immediately. I pray it’ll bring him comfort.

For over 40 years he’s taken care of my mother and I. He was our monetary provider for years when Mom couldn’t work. He has remodeled our home both for aesthetic beauty, comfort and ease of use over the years (just recently putting in a walk-in shower for my mother who can no longer climb into the tub.) He’s even helped my husband and I do most of the work around our home too.

He rarely thinks of himself – usually only thinking about what would be best for my mother or I. He’s the true definition of a “provider.” He fills out that age old definition of a man’s role so beautifully. And we appreciate it. But I can’t imagine doing the work he has done for the last year with the pain he has encountered.

Last summer he helped renovate our church basement while the pain was just beginning. Some days not accomplishing as much as he would have liked due to the pain, but pushing onward because he knew we had a deadline. For the first time in his 70 years, I saw him defer to the younger men for the tough tasks like hauling drywall, toting boards and running up and down stairs repeatedly.

One day, while running up and down the stairs himself, I noticed him wince in pain. “You know you can ask me or John to run for things right?” I asked, fully expecting him to not take either of us up on the offer. (A mixture of pride and “only I can do it” attitude prevents him.) I was taken a bit aback when he said, “Okay, go get…” John jumped at the chance to help and I was both happy and sad. Happy that he had asked for help, but sad that he needed to.

But when he began to not be able to walk and to have trouble standing for any period of time, we encouraged him to seek treatment. When one doctor told him he didn’t think it was a back issue (but instead a hernia), I encouraged him to seek a second opinion. When he did, a hernia was ruled out and the idea of surgery was presented (along with a few others that he had already done or didn’t want to consider.) I knew he was in pain when he readily agreed to the surgery. He doesn’t like hospitals or doctors and pretty much feels like he can handle anything on his own. I knew the pain was bad when he was again asking for help.

I have full confidence in his doctor and believe it’ll go smoothly. But I can’t guarantee that he won’t be in pain anymore. And neither can the doctor really. I pray it will and that he will be able to take this time to pamper himself. I’m thankful that I can now assist him in getting there and be there for him, after all the years of him taking care of me.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” Ephesians 6:1-2 (NIV)

If it does work, and leaves him with no pain, I’m sure he will be right back at his own devices soon – tackling them with added zeal.


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