Victor Rivera, Evelyn Rivera – 1966
I didn’t want to love my Father. By most standards, he would be considered “not so great” based on his actions and decisions that he has made in his life. I don’t want to get into the details of his wrong doing, as that is not the purpose here. The fact is, I didn’t want to love him, but I did. And I struggled with that for many years.
It was 10 years ago when I last saw my dad. He started showing signs of Alzheimer’s then – struggling with names and recollecting facts about certain situations. And because I am a holistic health professional, I couldn’t help but notice at that time, he was eating only white bread and coffee throughout the day and who knows what for dinner. Not a good diet to nourish the body – especially the brain.
I tried to talk to him about nutrition and supplements that could help his memory loss symptoms – but he wanted nothing to do with my advice. That’s my dad. Set in his ways and not listening or learning from others.
I was left with the feeling that I should have done more to help my dad. I had the knowledge and the expertise to get him the help he needed to make a difference in his health. But instead, I distanced myself from him so that I wouldn’t have to deal with trying to love an unlovable person.
Now that my dad is gone, I ask myself:
What would Jesus have done? Jesus would have visited him and shown him love and compassion anyway. Don’t I know this by now! Jesus would have done the right thing. You’ll never regret doing the right thing even though you don’t want to.
And now I reflect on my dad’s passing with the good recollections (because they weren’t all bad)…
I loved when he played his acoustic guitar on a hot summer night by an open window. I loved when he and I played silly games together. I love pretending to fall asleep on his lap while he watched TV so that he would carry me up to bed. I loved when he took me to visit his mother and treated me to lunch on the way home. I loved when he took me to piano lessons. I loved when he taught me how to drive. I loved when fixed my car when I slammed into a pole on a snowy day.
So I do love an unlovable person. And I’m good with that. He’s my dad. And I hope to see him again someday in the presence of my Savior. God’s grace and mercy are endless.
“I will love, for you have loved”
“I will forgive, as you forgive”
Your Love Knows No End – Hillsong Live, 2012
Here’s my Father – Victor Rivera, 2014, with my little sisters Diosana and Victoria and little brother Victor II.