What Role Do You Play? by Tori Bradford

June is an interesting month for me as I ponder who a Father is and what role he plays.  I’m not a father so I don’t have any first hand experience, and growing up I didn’t really know if my father was normal, or my friends fathers were normal, or if there even was such a thing.  

As I sit here writing this, I’m actually in the family waiting room of the surgery wing at our local hospital.  At the beginning of the week, my husband’s parents came into town for a visit.  We had grand plans of visiting downtown Nashville, going to the local restaurants, walking around all of this beautiful city’s icons, and spending some quality time with them.  What was to be the morning of our first day of fun, my father-in-law had a stroke.

Up until this point I had never really had to “quarterback” a medical emergency.  Thankfully (for everyone involved) I have recently experienced the beauty available when I'm present in situations so I have committed to BE PRESENT in every area of my life.   This morning was no different and I chose to stay present with my father-in-law and mother-in-law through the process and to our amazement every step felt like it had been ordered before us.  The ambulance was called, decisions were made, and everyone was keeping a close eye on each other.

Through the next couple of days, between tears, laughter, despair, and hope, we would learn that my father-in-law had some serious issues with blockages in his blood vessels, and due to some less than favorable heart issues he would need to have a pacemaker put back in (he had one removed 8 years ago).  

This brings me to sitting in the waiting room for him to get out of surgery.

As I sit here and ponder through the events of the last few days the thing that keeps coming up for me is be present.  I learned first hand that all the plans in the world will not change the fact that everything can change in an instant whether you’re ready for it or not.

I’ve also learned that the role a father plays is vital.  

On Monday, as I walked in the room to realize my father-in-law was unable to speak, I froze.  My heart stopped for a moment, and now on the other side I can process through what was happening.  As the shock of it all wore off I realized I was experiencing fear.  Not fear that he would die, or fear that my life would never be the same, but fear that I would never hear him speak to me again.  I had a fear that I would never get to hear him say “I love you”, or “You’re special, you know that?” to me again.

Now, I’m lucky.  I have many people in my life who I love and who love me too and I am grateful for each of them.  But when it occurred to me that my father-in-law might never be able to tell me again I realized that nothing else could fill that void.  No one else could speak to that piece of my heart.

This week I’ve learned that even if I don’t understand the role, the fact is, each of us serve a vital role in this world and in the lives of others.

It’s easy to think that we are a minor detail in this vast world we live in, but every day I am reminded that we each play an integral role.  Some play a role that affects millions, and others play a role that affect ten.  Regardless of how many people you affect in your life, the beauty is the choice to show up and play that role, or sit on the sidelines and let it pass you by.  

I am honored to have a father-in-law who shows up in his role for his family on a daily basis, and I am forever grateful for the example he has been to me to show up in my role as well.  

What role do you play, friends, and how can you show up in that role today?