Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 35: Let Us Run

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…” 
-Hebrew 12:1-2

One month ago, I flew home from Hong Kong to be with my father as he battles advanced, non-operable lung cancer. After twenty hours in the air and a drive across Dallas, I tore through the hospital like a magnet to his bedside, flung open the door to his room and pushed past the friends gathered, to hug him for the first time in over half a year.

I sat there and wept. Then wept some more.

Always the perfect gentleman, my father asked if I’d like to eat the salmon he had ordered himself for dinner. Without thinking, I, in front of the multitude of friends and family present, retorted in my most exasperated tone, “Dad, I still don’t eat salmon.

Five words. Those words are the ones I chose to say to the most caring father imaginable. To my beloved father who was loaded up on more painkillers than I could count and attached to an oxygen tube and heart monitor. Those words still feel like a punch to the gut when I remember them. How could I have been so selfish in that moment? Why could I not exercise control over my words? How did that even happen?

Upon first reflection, I hated that an assembly of witnesses, both family and friends, had overheard me being such a brat. In the end, it was those gathered who ended up exonerating me.

My father’s best friend, a priest who had flown in from North Carolina, laughed at me later, telling me to think about how refreshing it was to be able to maintain a “normal” daughter-father relationship at this time. She told me, in the way only a Southern woman can – with a kindly tone and a spine of steel - to get over my mistake and focus on helping him now.

So here I am.

One month later, I’ve only just begun this (hopefully) long and (definitely) difficult race. I have no idea what the future will look like. For the race that is set before me, I’ve learned to set aside the memories of the times I could have acted better. I need to keep on running.

Katie Webb is 23 years old and from the Diocese of Dallas. 
Not only has she served with the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Archives,
 but also she spent last year working at the Episcopal Church Center as YASC program staff. 

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