Today on Father’s Day, I think of two men. Two men who never knew each other. Different values. Different lifestyles. Different beliefs. Different worlds. They both were fathers. That appears to be their only common ground. I don’t know why the first man even comes to mind. But he does.
I remember when Saddam Hussein was killed. Some witnesses videotaped his death. His hanging. I saw parts of the video on the news. It was graphic. It was disturbing. It was unsettling. He died. People wanted confirmation that he was gone. There it was. Ugly and haunting.
He seemed so calm in the last moments of his life. He wasn’t fighting his captors. He was as a lamb being led to the slaughter. Quiet. Reserved. Defeated.
I wonder if he had been drugged. I wonder what he was thinking. When they opened his cell door for the last time, did he know he was going to his death? Did he know that in just a few short minutes he would be in eternity? A never-ending place where he would reap the rewards or punishment for his life on earth. Did he know? Was he ready to meet his Maker?
If he knew, what was he thinking? Did he try to make peace with God? Did he ask forgiveness for the atrocities he had committed? Did he shake his fist at God and curse him? Did he believe in God? What were his final thoughts?
It isn’t mine to know. It isn’t mine to judge.
The Lord knows the thoughts of man. Psalm 94:11
I remember another man’s death. I wasn’t with my dad when he breathed his last breath, but my sisters were there. He had been on hospice for 3 months. During those final months and days, my dad exhibited peace and contentment. He knew he was dying. He knew he was going to heaven.
Some days he would want to hold your hand and tell you that he loved you over and over. Other days, tears would roll down his face. At times, he would look up to the corner of the room with a far-off look. He was seeing a place he had only read and heard about. Heaven. He would sometimes see people. Others who had gone before him. He would call them by name.
He had said he was waiting for my mom. He never wanted her to be alone. He waited for her. In those final three months of his life, he portrayed a sacrificial love for the woman he had pledged his life to 60 years earlier. He kept his vow. Till death us do part.
His heart was weak. His body was frail. His voice was soft.
His love was strong. His faith was sure. His eternity was secure.
During his final days, he would reach with outstretched hand to heaven. Trying to touch it. Wanting to enter those pearly gates. As the end drew near, he would lie there with his eyes closed. No longer speaking. Not in this world. Not in the next. Hovering between two worlds with a smile on his face. He was seeing heaven.
He had made peace with his life. He had waited for his beloved to go before him. He was ready to meet his Maker.
His last words. So close. So close.