I love looking at photographs of my Dad (Ralph Rivera Jr.). They bring back so many fond memories…
I remember the sense of protection he provided to me at night. I would wake in the middle of the night and hear noises. Eventually, I would venture out of bed and walk down the dark hallway into the living room. My dad would be lounging on the couch watching a black and white war movie. He would call me over and I would sit with him as he watched the movie. Eventually I would fall asleep and he would carry me back to bed.
My Dad would drive up to the house in his green Ford pick-up truck. I would run up to him, give him a kiss and a big hug. As he walked up to the house, I would climb into his truck. His truck was a playground for me and my siblings. The truck cab was a treasure chest. There I would find his comic books! Spiderman, Conan, and Tarzan. Tarzan was my favorite. I would hang out in the cab and read.
My first memory of going on the Log Ride at Knott’s Berry Farm was with my Dad. At one point on the ride, I remember looking up, at that point, two barrels started to tumble down on us. A ruse to startle riders, and it worked! I jerked my head and hit my dad’s chin. We both laughed.
The memories of my dad are even more precious to me because my time with my dad ended way too soon. My dad died the year that I turned thirteen. I wasn’t able to say a final good-bye or that I loved him, because he committed suicide. I remember the events of that day, where I was and how I found out. Thoughts and questions flooded my mind, but I kept them mostly to myself. Today, there is more information on suicide than there was when I was a teenager.
We are blessed to have a God who loves us, a good Father. For when life situations break our hearts, the Holy Spirit moves on our behalf.
HE HEALS THE BROKENHEARTED AND BINDS UP THEIR WOUNDS.
PSALMS 147:3 NIV
We don’t even have to ask. He knows exactly what we need. I was going through a divorce and I longed for my dad’s comforting arms. God sent my friends to hold me and as I close my eyes I felt the loving embrace of my Father God. The internal longing for my dad’s arm was replaced with receiving God’s peace, love, and comfort.
He continues to show me that I can trust Him. He is our Father. Our Papa in heaven in whom we can trust to meet our every need.
As I gaze upon the photographs, the memories of my Dad come back to me and Holy Spirit fills my heart with peace and love, whispering to me… you’ll see him again one day in heaven.
Abounding in His Love,