I want to encourage you all to invest time, effort, and finances in to what's most important. The main reason we promote Lakeshore properties and experiences is because we ardently believe in its ability to promote healing and restoration within families. To illustrate this point I want to tell you a little bit about what my family has been experiencing.
My Dad is dying. In truth we all are. I'm not trying to be morbid, it's simply a fact we must all deal with. It could happen at any time, yet some of us are given the gift of knowing that it will visit us soon. My Dad has been given this "gift" although some people wouldn't call it that.
This past December Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. Initially it was thought that the cancer was discovered early enough to treat with an upper lobectomy, which involved removing the upper third of the lung. As unpleasant as that sounds it would've removed the cancer and eliminated the problem. Filled with hope my Dad and I went down to Mayo where he was run through a battery of tests. The results were not positive. Surgery was not an option. He was in stage four and we were told that ninety-five percent of the people were dead within five years. On the ride home from Rochester Dad and I talked about a number of things, but one of the things we talked about was the "gift."
You see, there were to many times where both Dad and I allowed things to get in the way of spending time together or saying things that needed to be said, but now we knew we didn't have that much time left. The conversations became more open and we were dedicated to making sure my kids knew their Grandpa more.
This spring we set up a fishing trip to Elbow Lake. We stayed at Elbow Lake Lodge, which provided the perfect atmosphere for what would turn out to most likely be our ast fishing trip together. The general manager of the resort, Lee Byram, is also a pastor so he had an interest in making sure our stay was enjoyable and care free. The fishing was slow that weekend but the important thing
was spending time with my Dad, my brother, my nephew, and my two oldest boys. My Dad loves his grandchildren and on the first night we gathered around him as he told us a story and presented us with some special gifts (lures that he knew to be the best). The next day while attempting to fish we must have looked like something out of the Keystone Cops. My brother doesn't fish, my dad had injured his foot, and the kids are young (7,6, and 6). At one point one line was stuck in a tree, one lure was snagged on the carpet, another line was snagged on a rock, and two lines were tangled up together. It seemed to be all we could do to keep lines untangled and in the water. But we were together. I watched as my Dad struggled along, yet loved on his grandkids.
This past week I was at Elbow Lake Lodge again. I was with my wife, our five kids and a special friend of our family. This time the fishing was fantastic. We caught walleye, northern, bass, panfish, and perch. Then we got a phone call regarding my Dad, and one more gift. Dad was in the hospital and was told that because of his pain he would no longer be able to live at home by himself. We cut our vacation a little short and went to Bemidji to pick him up.
It was during our car ride home that I was given the best gift of all. Just Dad and I were in the car. We talked about the past and we talked about the future. He told me he had finally made peace with God and had asked to be forgiven of his sins. For me that was the best gift, something I had been praying about for quite some time. But then again, my Dad had been given the "gift" of knowing his time on Earth was short, and he was able to put his affairs in order. Some of us will never get that gift.
Today as I helped my dad get out of bed, go to the bathroom, and get a little bit of food I was reminded just how fragile life is. I wish I would've spent even more time with my Dad. Still, I am grateful for the special times we did have, most of which occurred while at the lake, whether it was our personal property or a place like Elbow Lake Lodge. The key is to have an environment free of distractions. The lake is the perfect place. May God Bless you and your family in your lakeshore dreams.