Something changes when a parent dies. Age doesn’t matter so much. At least that’s what the other orphans told.
I was over 40.
I couldn’t hear them.
I’m a pastor and funerals are part of the gig.
This funeral was for my dad. I stayed with the casket as they lowered his body and sealed it shut. I’d stood there for so many as they ushered the family into the other room.
His hospice nurse heard me, and affirmed my telling him it was OK to go. I knew the steps. I’d helped others through them, so I followed them. All the boxes were checked.
The lightbulb above the trash can outside our house burnt out a couple months after dad died. Years of unseen corrosion were heard as I attempted to twist the lightbulb and snapped the fixture in half.
It’s impossible to replace just one light fixture on the front of a house and have them match. So the next day, a random Thursday in March, I changed every light fixture on the outside of our house.
The sun started to set just before the one to the right of the garage was finished. I opened the garage for light — it was on a different circuit and I was pretty sure this was safe. I called dad to check. I scrolled to his number, pushed send, listed to it ring a couple time. It took the“this number is no longer in service me” message to clue me in.
I’d always called dad with this kind of thing.
It started to rain.
I knew that wasn’t safe.
It would have been easy to take advantage of me that day. I didn’t just realize my dad was dead for the first time (some of the orphans at his funeral warned me about this), I also felt stupid for calling him.
Some people prey on this. They wait until people are vulnerable and pounce. This saying warns against that, for a long time I wondered why. It seems that God has a soft spots for orphans. Then I remembered, we all end up orphans… there are times we are all vulnerable.