Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Tribute To My Dad

This was written for my Dad's funeral.

Al Faustin

Born: May 8, 1913

Gone with Jesus: September 26, 2004

Psalm 116:15 says: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Two weeks ago, I asked Dad if it was exciting to be getting ready to be with Jesus. His response was that he was looking forward to “adoring Him forever.” That’s how Dad lived his life too.

For many years, I saw in Dad what I wanted to be. Several things stood out: his selflessness, self-sacrifice and willingness to give. Dad had found the secret joy of living his life for others.

Dad’s theology had become biography; it wasn’t just words to him. I learned from Dad that you can’t out give God. Sometimes I thought that he had a hard time accepting things or help from others but what I found out was that he was always looking for a way to give. You would give him something or do something for him and he would look for a way to bless you in return. Many times that took the form of money. I had to learn to gracefully accept it so that his joy could be full.

Dad could receive with gracefulness too. Many times I would get something for him and when presenting it tell him it was a present; then he knew he just had to quietly receive it. Awhile back during the summer he was telling me how when he was going to bed he would get the house nice and cool with the swamp cooler. Then he would wake up and it was too cool so he would have to get up and shut it off. Then he was wide-awake. The next day I got him a remote control so he wouldn’t have to get up. He was so amazed with such a device and thankful for it.

Proverbs 11:24-25 says: One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessings will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. As the end drew near, I thought it was going to be a hard time for us to provide the care Dad needed in order for him to die at home, as he wanted to. In the end, I for one received far more from him than I ever could have given. It’s kind of hard to explain but it’s as if Biblical truth that I had formerly acknowledged has now become much closer. I truly see that it is more blessed to give than to receive. The cry from my heart is that the truths that I learned from my Dad’s life will forever become a part of me.

Selflessness was a hallmark of Dad’s life. He was always thinking of others and how he could help them. In his last two weeks he needed help to and from the bathroom. At first, he would use his walker and then we ended up having to get him in the wheel chair and take him to the bathroom door. From there it was about six steps to the toilet. We had a portable toilet but he didn’t want to use it. The day before he died, I was helping him back to the wheelchair and the pain in his chest and legs was so intense that he was crying. Once we were back to his chair and the pain subsided all he could say was that he thought he had hurt me. He said, “I almost killed you.” That was Dad; in intense agony and worried about someone else. We then decided that like it or not, we were going to make him use the portable. Later that night my son reported that Dad really thought it was a help. He said that he had resisted because he thought it would be harder for us. So what we thought was stubbornness was really selflessness.

St Francis said: Preach the gospel wherever you go; when necessary use words. Dad’s life was his message. Several weeks ago, when it was clear that we were nearing the end of Dad’s life I prayed that he would go quickly and without suffering. Then I was reminded that his whole life had been full of suffering and adversity. What made me think it was going to change at this point? He constantly reminded us that we must take up our cross daily. I realized that the things he went through helped make him the wonderful man that he was. Then I realized that I was probably praying that prayer more for my sake than his.

When Jesus was beaten and died on the cross, what He suffered was not for Him or because of Him but for us. In the morning of Dad’s last two days, he said that he didn’t know someone could have so much pain and live. If you knew him, you know that for him to say that, the pain had to be incredible. Yet, he didn’t complain or whine. He accepted it and went on with his day. On Sunday when he died, the pain never let up until he drifted into the sleep where he died a couple of hours later. An interesting thing was that the sermon Dad heard on TV the morning of his death was on Job. How fitting.

Dad’s suffering had a purpose too. It let us see that his character was the same no matter what. He didn’t change when the fire was turned up. His pain was for our gain. I realized this week that because Dad needed help the last two years I was able to see him almost every day. What a gift that was. The blessing I received had a price for him though; he was no longer mobile like he had been. He was now the recipient of care rather than the one who was able to care for so many others.

So as I sum it up in my mind I realize that the reason Dad was such a great guy was not because he was born that way but because he was a humble and devoted follower of Jesus. As he followed, he was molded and changed into the man we love and will now miss so much.

Second Corinthians 5:15 says: Christ died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. There is Dad’s message to us.

Psalms 90:12 says: Teach us to number our days so that we may present to you a heart of wisdom. Dad lived 33379 days and especially in the later part of his life received each one as a gift. His wisdom I will treasure always.

It is a privilege to have known him, to be his son and to know that I get to spend eternity with him.

Well done good and faithful servant!