Monday, November 17, 2014

Papa Crane

As many of those close to me know, the past few months my father has been going through a lot of serious health issues. As siblings, we had to face the very possible reality that we would be losing our father in a short matter of time. When we finally got him into a hospital, he was merely hours from death, and we were told to prepare ourselves. . With a lot of prayers and luck, and lots of hard work from doctors and amazing hospital staff, he stabilized. Though the issues and risks are still there, the outlook looks more promising.

As this was all happening, I really took a chance to reflect on my father and our favorite moments together. This picture is my favorite of my dad and I. Not because I think we look all that fantastic, but it's from a trip he took me and my cousin Konrad on while we were both in college. The three of us spent a week sleeping in tents and fishing and hiking Montana. This was the most fun I had ever had in my adult life with him. The picture explains him to a T. The fishing waders, the hat, the glasses, the loving and carefree smile, and of course, the outdoors. I think this picture describes his personality more than I every could.

The reason I wanted to really write this though is because of his strength as a Father and influence for better to all those around him. As I was grieving over his health, I was comforted in letters that he had written me years before. I have turned to these letters multiple times when I need direction, and in particular, when I need direction from my Dad.

In May 2011, right before I graduated from College, I traveled to Peru to work at a rural elementary and get experience working with the children and just living with a new culture. I think my parents were more nervous than I was about traveling to a foreign country by myself. But it was certainly a challenge for myself also. Before I left, my dad handed me a stack of letters he had written me to accompany me on my trip. On the envelope were the following titles,

  1. When you lose confidence
  2. when it hurts
  3. when you're discouraged
  4. when you don't understand international politics
  5. when your prayers seem unanswered
  6. when you still don't get answers to your prayers
  7. when you misunderstand the answers to your prayers
  8. when your problem(s) seem to great
  9.  when your faith is challenged
  10. when you hear the spirit
  11. when you're prompted by the spirit
  12. when you don't want to change
  13. advice to a missionary
  14. when your efforts seem small or inconsequential
  15. when you need a miracle
  16. when you need (another) miracle
  17. when it seems like everything in your life is going wrong
  18. when you are tempted
  19. when the answer to your prayers is no or not this way
  20. when you're afraid
  21. when you are tempted to break covenants
  22. when you want to be acquainted with God
  23. when you don't want to keep the sabbath
  24. when you have questions about weekly covenants
  25. when you can't get motivated
  26. when you don't want to eat at the poor lady's house
  27. when you're tired of the orphans
In every letter there is advice and stories from my Dad to help me in these circumstances. Though some are just funny titles, there isn't a time that I haven't relied on every single letter at some point or another. These will continue to be a treasure that I will hold dearly for the rest of my life. In some letters when I broke the seal, there were little hand written messages before I open the paper that say things like, "strength and honor" or "I love you". 

My Dad is a gem. I don't know how I was so lucky to end up with such an incredibly caring and thoughtful man. For the time being, I am so happy to be able to spend as much time with him as possible while he is here. When he is gone, I still have these letters and the endless memories to hold onto. I am so grateful for every moment that I have had and will have with him. And more than everything, I'm so grateful for the amazing influence he has been in directing my life.