When Jorge and I married and moved to Argentina, my parents were in their early 60’s. We are very thankful that they visited us often in the following 20+ years. Instead of shoveling January and February snow in Northeastern Ohio, they chose to endure our summer heat and humidity in Argentina – without air conditioning – to be with us! Saying our farewells at the airport in Buenos Aires was hard for me after their first few visits. Waving at them as they went up the escalator to their gate, my eyes always filled with tears. I thought I’d never see them again in this world. When they kept coming back, I decided I wouldn’t bother to cry anymore, so I didn’t. They did come back, again and again. Mom made her last trip to Argentina when she was 73, but Dad…well, he loved it too much NOT to return, and so he did. He was a healthy 85 years old the last time he visited us in Argentina.
On one of his last trips, when he was already well into his 80’s, we spent a day at a church youth camp. There were teens and twenty-somethings from all over Argentina, and part of the afternoon’s program was a Q – A session. (Q – the young Argentines… A – Dad.) Observing the vigor and enthusiasm he still had at that age, one of the questions they asked him was: “What’s the secret to enjoying a long, healthy life?” Immediately Dad replied: “Four things: Work hard, drink plenty of water, sleep peacefully, and leave all your cares in the Lord’s hands.” He answered quickly, because those four concepts were his life; they worked for him.
I don’t know if the young kids “got it”, or if they ever thought of his advice after that day. But I did! And I often thank God for having given me a dad who loved me enough to give me a lot of advice – not only that day, but throughout my life – on a broad array of issues. I also am thankful that God allowed us to enjoy being with Dad until the Lord suddenly and unexpectedly called him home when he was 94 years “young”. (As one of his granddaughters remarked) Dad was born 98 years ago today, and with God’s favor, did indeed enjoy a long, healthy life!