Travels of Life

travel photo of street

As I write this, I am up in Post Falls by my father’s side. We are traveling together once again. He always loved to travel. We went to North Dakota from Montana often. Although this was a long drive, we always had fun with my dad singing songs and challenging us to road games such as slug bug and the license plate challenge.

In slug bug, we would have to be the first to see the VW driving down the road and holler slug bug. Dad would always see them first but would not say anything until one of us would holler “Slug Bug” and slap our brother or sister in the shoulder next to us. Oh, sometimes it hurt bad but other times it felt like a love touch. No matter what, it was entertainment for us as we traveled down the long stretches of road to see his folks.

As we traveled these many miles across barren lands, dad seemed to never mind the crying and hollering from the six kids and a wife as we moved along. One time we had all the kids in the 1960 Dodge station wagon that had a seat that looked out the back to see traffic coming from behind us. We were singing songs like Polly wholly dolly daily day! (That was a pun on my name) ‘This Little Fishy’ that dad loved to sing. We continued to play with each other as we went down the long roads between the states. Then, all of a sudden, the roof of our car came apart. You see, because the car was packed with kids and Mom and Dad, we had to pack the roof of the station wagon with our luggage. Well, as we were traveling 90 mph down this narrow two-lane highway, the luggage came untied. We had clothes, shampoo, toys, artifacts of antiques given to us from Grandpa and Grandma spread across the road, in the ditch and on the center lane of flying traffic!

Me, my younger brother and my baby sister were crying as we saw our clothes and toys spread from here to Christmas! My older brothers and older sister jumped out to help mom and dad salvage anything they could. Mom began to cry as did my older sister as they dodged traffic to pick up what remained of our belongings. Dad somehow kept his cool through all of it.

It is the same today as dad is breathing his last breaths. He is calm and states he is alright even though we all know better. I pray I have that same strength when I were to get to his stage of life. I am more emotional than I was when my mother started to fade. Mom had so much faith that it was easier at least for me, knowing she could be part of her ‘End of Life-giving Care Service’ I performed a day before she passed on to God’s loving arms.

The past few weeks have been hard for our nation and our world as we watched the life of George Floyd being taken. Knowing the struggles my dad is having with the pneumonia and being unable to breathe, I cannot imagine how Floyd felt when his breathing was restriction.

We all come to the end of our life knowing that death will happen. It is part of life. We who have faith know that we will live forever in God’s kingdom. I pray for the world and particularly my father, those dying from the corona virus and George Floyd and his family and friends. I pray they know that Christ has them. He is there to receive them and to be their shepherd for eternity. I pray that as life is taken from them that they are; ‘convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Romans 8:38-39 NRSV

Paul Malek

Paul Malek

ELCA Pastor
St. Paul Lutheran Church
Ontario, Oregon

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Connie

    All of your car games brought back so many fond memories I had traveling with our children to Mn. We, thank goodness, did not have the misery of exploding luggage. What a memory for your family that I’m sure is talked of often. I really like how you related your dad to then and now. God’s Peace be with him and your family.

  2. Jack

    THank you, Paul. I believe your flock at St. Paul is in a grand manner being held together by you and the others supporting your efforts. We all are being blessed by you presence in our lives. Thank you!

  3. Jean Malek

    Thank you Paul. God bless!

  4. Jim Malek

    Thank you so much Paul, that was wonderful

  5. Mike

    I have a lot of great memories of traveling with my siblings and parents in our 1976 Ford F-150, usually pulling the pop up camper. I sorely miss my dad who passed away way too early at age 57. I wish he was here to be around my own kids. Thank you for sharing Paul.

  6. Tammie Dockter

    Thank you for sharing your precious family memories with us. You have the prayers and love of your congregation at this extremely difficult season in your life. God bless you, Jeannie, and the rest of your family.

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