A Question of Honor

I received a wonderful gift last week as I visited my dear dad.

He is living in my brother’s home, and my brother, his wife, and a crew of special ladies keep our dad well-covered with around-the-clock kindness. 

I am grateful for them and I wish I lived closer to be a part of their team. 

Even though he has lost most of his physical and mental abilities, Dad is patient and cooperative, kisses caregivers’ hands and says thank you often. He claps and laughs and sings and prays in his jumbly way. 

It truly was a gift to be with him.

*          *          *          *          *

Today is the 11th anniversary of my mother’s departure to heaven, a day I like to honor her memory by putting up our Christmas tree. 

My mother loved everything Christmas. Parties and gifts and decorations and lights. Especially the lights. Seeing all the lights on our Christmas tree makes me think of her. 

One thing I have pondered through these years is the last words I heard my mother say.

She was in a semi-coma and I didn’t know that she would actually die a few hours later. 

As she was being moved from her bed to the gurney to go to the ambulance, she told me softly, “Take off my socks.”

I took them off, watched her go, then I put them into my overnight bag. I fully expected to spend the night at the hospital with her and put them back on.  

“Take off my socks.” were not her last words, but the last ones spoken to me.

Why did she want her socks removed?

I will never know. 

But I do know it was a great gift from God to be in Dallas (not Ethiopia where we were living), to be by her side at that moment and take off her socks. 

*         *          *          *          *

I’ve been thinking about God’s command to “Honor your father and mother.” 

Honor means respect, admire, appreciate, value and cherish. 

I am asking God, How can I honor my dad when he lives far away, both physically and mentally? 

There is a story about honor in the book of Esther. In chapter 6, King Xerxes couldn’t sleep, so he asked for the book of chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought and read to him. 

When the king heard the story of Mordecai saving his life by reporting an assassination plot, he wanted to know, “What honor has Mordecai received for this?”

“Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants answered.

Then the king asked an interesting question:  “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”

Kinda my question. What should be done for the dad the daughter delights to honor?

King Xerxes was advised to dress the man in one of his kingly robes and have one of his noble sons lead him through the city on a fine horse, shouting as they go, “This is what happens to those the king wishes to honor!” 

It makes me smile picturing my dad up on a horse, but of course, it is silly and it doesn’t answer my question.

Maybe my question of honor doesn’t have an answer, like the one about Mom’s socks.

Maybe I will just go downstairs and enjoy our Christmas tree and honor my parents in my heart.

Lord Jesus, Thank you for my parents and the privilege it is

to respect, admire, appreciate, value and cherish them.

You said in Psalm 23:3b (LB) that You will help me do what honors You the most.

I am counting on that. Everyday. Yes and Amen.

16 thoughts on “A Question of Honor

  1. I can just imagine sitting on a rocking chair in that room with your beautiful Christmas tree and your elves and talking with you about our parents. So thankful for your parents and mine. So many sweet memories. So very much to be thankful for! Have a wonderful month celebrating the birth and life of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Love you Sarah and our love to Jake too. Enjoy Johanah!


    1. Thank you Kathy. You noticed the elves climbing a ladder in my picture. That was part of my mom’s christmas stuff, she had an elf for every grandchild. I took the 5 with my girls names on them, so sweet that she made one for our first daughter Hannah.


      1. Our youngest daughter, Penny, lost her baby girl on Nov. 10 th of this year. Her name is Oakley Faith Dutil. She is Penny and Kaleb’s first child. I stayed with them for 3 weeks as they mourned this sad loss. Kaleb said “ Jesus loved Oakley so much that He let her skip all the stuff of this life —and took her straight to be with Him in heaven. It was hard— and still is. Our son Skip is expecting his first baby, Elijah Grayson Gragg, on Dec. 29 th. It will be hard as we rejoice over Elijah and remember
        Oakley. We look forward to meeting her in heaven!! As you will Hannah!!!


  2. Dearest Sarah,

    Thank you so much for your blog and I think about your Mom always on December 5th. Many prayers to you and your family.

    I love your Mom and Dad they were a big part of my spiritual journey and teaching me how to serve others.

    Your sweet Father how I can see him kissing his care givers hands and loving on every life he touches.

    My best to you,

    Love you,

    Shauna Clark


  3. Thanks for sharing this wonderful message. Perhaps some kind act of service that would be reflective of your dad might offer you a more tangible opportunity to honor him.


  4. Dear Sarah,
    You nailed it!!
    We honor them by remembering them and thanking God for them.. and sharing our stories as their daughters with our own children and grandchildren!
    It was a gift to be with you, and my heart understands your heart regarding your father.. we are definitely in this together.
    May He comfort you every time you look at that precious tree!
    What a legacy we have!


  5. Beautifully written, Sarah! Thanks for sharing these wise words. My parents are both in heaven, but I honor them in my heart and memories.


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