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Open to Truth

My father, God rest his soul, was a deep thinker. The truth mattered to him. One of the things he did, though, that sometimes irritated me was his repetition of stories. One in particular he must have told me dozens of times; and I overheard him tell others dozens more. Little did either of us know what a pivotal part the centrepiece of this story would play in his death. My father’s favourite painting was the focal point of this often repeated tale. A picture of that very painting, which still hangs in his bedroom, you can see below. Dad tended to be a wonderful story-teller; animated whilst calm, clear, concise (most of the time), and certainly could hold one’s attention. 

The painting is of Our Lord Jesus standing knocking on a door. To me, it is a beautiful painting. Calming. Thought-provoking. Emotive. The best part, though, is what is not there. There is no handle on the door. Jesus can knock. But there is no handle for Him to turn to let Himself in. He is knocking and must wait to be granted entry. 

For the 36 hours prior to my father’s passing into eternity, he had been unconscious. His eyes were closed and he was breathing heavily. At 4am my mother, sister, brother and I were gathered around his bed and I was praying the prayers for the dying. Dad had wanted this. His courage and faith in his last months with us were nothing short of heroically inspirational. He taught me a tremendous amount; by action more than words. We grew closer than we already were in those painful but precious final months together. As I prayed, I paused to cry, resuming again with the strength of a supportive touch from my siblings. I didn’t want him to be gone from me, but I wanted him to meet Our Lord. In my father’s dying moments, whilst we sniffled and prayed, his breathing became slower, deeper and more infrequent. We knew the end was coming. We said our final goodbyes and gave our permission aloud for him to leave us. His eyes opened; a startling sight. He was looking between my sister and I, directly at that painting. His eyes fixed on the painting, I spoke my final words to him: “the handle is on your side, Dad. You have to open it. Let Jesus take you home”. And he did.

Eternal rest grant unto his soul, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.

I miss my Dad. Some days much more than others. But he left a legacy. The truth, above all else, mattered to Dad. He was principled, honest, kind-hearted and faithful. I inherited my love of truth from him. I am forever grateful to him for that. Without truth we are lost. With truth we find our way home; we find ourselves.

Jesus saith to him: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me” John 14:6

It is up to us to open the door. God will not let Himself in without our permission. He has given us free will in order for us to choose to love Him. Love is not true love if not freely chosen.

Truth can knock. Truth will knock. Sometimes loudly, sometimes quietly. But Truth, God, will not force His way in. He awaits our action. Our permission. Our fiat.

Each morning when we awake, may our first action of the day be to listen to the knocking and to give Our Lord Jesus Christ a home to rest in.

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