On Looks

“Your dad looks great!”

I’ve heard that several times the past few days since my dad has been out of his most recent stay in the hospital and I’ve thought a lot about appearance and what does make people look good.

I had a similar experience with a friend I deeply admired before she passed away last spring from cancer. I saw her for just a moment at a wedding. I knew she was not doing well and was surprised to see her. But of course she was there and she was radiant. With a smile and quick hug that I hope to always keep with me, she taught me about what we are all striving for in this life. To be graceful with the lot we’re given and our burdens to bear. And to live a life that will ultimately close with refinement.

My dad’s most recent hospital stay was an especially hard one. To put it simply, he went in for complications we’re familiar with but came home without the familiar feeling of a new plan and new hope.

Here’s what I posted while he was in the hospital, on probably the hardest day.

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While he was in the hospital we invited friends and family to join together in unified prayer for the team of doctors at the moment they were reviewing his case. It was an experience and feeling I hope to never forget. Knowing how many were sharing their support and love for my dad and faith for his future was humbling as I knelt on the floor at work at 11:00 that day. I’ll admit I hoped that the volume of prayers would somehow influence and sway the outcome of the doctor’s meeting. It had to. But soon I remembered that is not how faith or prayer works.

We didn’t receive a definitive plan from the doctors. Mostly a confirmation that most doors for intervention were shutting, that “He’s been through too much.” and that he should go home and be comfortable and enjoy life as he could. It’s taken me a while to realize that though our prayers were not answered in the way we wanted them to be that day, they are answered in his boost of strength and peace to our family. And we are so grateful.

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And like he always does, dad got up and rose to the challenge. My mom sent us this picture the next day as they took advantage of some time off to explore and adventure, as they always do.

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He does look great, doesn’t he?

As I think about what looks great on him it’s certainly not his frail figure, his discoloring skin, the bulging hernias, distended abdomen, or the arthritic joints. It’s in his countenance. It’s in his good life. It’s the fact that he’s been given another day. He’s with his wife and probably on their way to see the grandkids and that is worth looking great for.

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One comment

  1. Michelle, this is beautiful. I’ve made a lifelong study of countenances, well, at least since I was a teen and wondered why some people have a light about them and some don’t. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned a bit more about the mechanics of a glowing countenance: kindness, patience, a sense of worth and a desire to serve others — all of these borne by having a deep, abiding love of the Savior. In this sense your father definitely looks great.

    Thank you for giving all of us the chance to participate in that 11 a.m. prayer. Like you, I wish there had been a medical breakthrough. I appreciate your insight that your prayers were answered instead with a boost of strength and peace. I continue to pray for your family to feel Heavenly Father’s love.

    Like

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