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Ponderings of a Son. 506. Dec 31, 2023.

Edition 506 2024:

KEY SCRIPTURE: 2 Corinthians 6:18 & Deuteronomy 1:31 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the Lord thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.


Dear Dad 

It's New Year's Eve 2023-24', and my wife Heather and I are sitting under our caravan awning in a riverside caravan park in Horsham, Victoria. Although mid-summer, the temperature is mild, and there is even a cooling breeze off the river, making its way directly to us. You'd like it here, and I would like you to be here. 

Your last New Year's Eve was 1972-73', 49 years ago today. Let me say, that's a long time to be without you. I was broken when you died so suddenly. 

At seventeen, the thought of you dying, let alone knowing the final words we would exchange, hadn't crossed my mind. You could never die. Well, that's what my subconscious thought at the time.


Lying on your side in hospital, eyes closed and heavily drugged, "Is that you, Niv? Yes. It's me!"

Those aren't the words I would choose had we that time again. I'd prepare something far more appropriate for your departure. I'd be sitting by your bed, torn between the thoughts of your upcoming heavenly life with Christ and what life would be like without your daily presence, as ill as you were.

We would exchange hugs and hold hands, and you'd pass on that last sentence of wisdom to me just before your spirit left. It would be the closing line of your life. The one to set me up for my future—the experience-based insight of a good, good father, so I would never again make fundamental mistakes.

But that special moment I've seen in so many movies didn't come with your passing. I didn't get the chance and felt so robbed by its abruptness.

Dad, I'm sitting here on my green camping chair, one of two, and imagining you on the other while Heather shops. I am 68 now, and although three years older than you when you died, making you the younger one, I would still call you Dad.

We would catch up on the chats we never got to have. I would burrow into your mind with endless, endless, endless questions about everything—those things you can only learn from Dad. I'm better behaved now, which would help our conversation. 

I had to discover the answers to life's accumulation of queries myself. But in defiance of my serious blunders, it made me persistently inquisitive about many things. 

I got mixed up when I was young, even while you were still here. Looking back, I think I needed you to take me fishing where we could talk, and you could pass on the fatherly snippets that would bring us closer and make me wiser. It wouldn't have needed to be fishing, but you know what I mean. However, I was busy in the shop with Mum, and you were barely alive, and that was the journey travelled.

Ironically, I could probably help with your illnesses now. Obviously, it's too late, but I have researched them and could guide you on a different path that would have kept you here longer. I know you wanted that.  

I recently worked out that you were only seven when your father enlisted in the army to fight overseas and eleven when he returned a traumatised, broken man. Then he died when you were twenty-one. So I guess you missed out on Dad years as well. 

Thank you for leaving me such a wise Elder with immense long-suffering and patience. I needed precisely that, and I love him dearly. 

I am so grateful for the time we did have and the writings you left, enabling me to glimpse your life in seeking God's precious heart. I am trying to do the same, working to keep the internal fire blazing with the flames of zeal. But as you wrote, life flies past rapidly, often leaving us less time than we need to enter those great and effectual portals of understanding.  

Thanks for your time today in this one-way dialogue. Life is now very good to us and loaded with experiences, but I wish you were here in person. 

Your Son



Dear Lord, thank you for the many blessings I have enjoyed. Some memories are wonderful, even though they hurt.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

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