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Dad, do you remember?

Two years ago on Monday you called me from Sweden at 5 am Niger time, to tell me that my mother had drawn her last breath. My heart panicked and I asked you, are you sure? Are you really, really sure she’s gone?

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You were so brave. You strengthened me. You asked nothing for yourself. Your heart was so beautiful. That was love.
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Dad, do you remember?

You changed your plans just so you could drive me up to Oslo only a few days after mom passed away.

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You knew I would be too vulnerable to take on the aid industry debate with my freshly wounded heart, and so you came with me just to be at my side. You were my rock, my shoulder to lean on. That was love.

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You took me all around Oslo, the city of your youth, and showed me your personal landmarks. That meant so much to me.
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You took on my mother’s adventurous spirit and went out on the ice to the spot where the two of you got engaged thirty-five years ago. I prayed the ice would hold you as your heart spoke a language of love.

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Dad, do you remember?

We were having dinner by the window, and on the avenue below us, a pimp was patrolling the streets with his rottweiler, keeping a watchful eye on his working girls.

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Our hearts bled for the young prostitutes from Nigeria, and we asked ourselves, what would mom have done – remember? And with her hearts in our heart, we went out and did what you and I had never done before. The prostitutes crowded around you, asking if you needed love, and you just smiled and asked if they knew Jesus. Some ran away, but many of them stayed. We talked with them way through the night – these young girls from Nigeria with real lives back home. They stayed with us and talked to us, not because we had anything material to offer them, but because we treated them as human beings and did not judge. That was love.

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And dad, do you remember the Tabloid debate?

You stayed at my side all the way. You gave me your courage and your strength. You held my hand when I needed it. That was love.

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On our way back, we stopped to see mom. She was beautiful in her purple clothes but it just wasn’t her. I couldn’t stop crying. You held my hand all the way back as we listened to Andrew Crouch singing “I’m gonna keep on loving you, Lord” – over and over again. Remember? That was love.

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And that song has stayed with us ever since she left, remember? We sang it at her funeral and we held nothing back:

I thought I’d given him my all
Until I heard him ask for more
You see, I thought I’d given him my best
But still there was something God was searching for

You see there were words in my heart
That I just couldn’t say… I just could not say…
But when I fell in love with Jesus
It became easy for me to pray

If the rainbow is removed from my sky
Should my daylight turn to night
Take the sweetness, take the sweetness from my life
Oh but I’m gonna keep on loving you Lord!

Take the one I love, I love the best
My wealth, my fame – Lord you can have all the rest
Take the sweetness, take the sweetness from my life
Oh but I’m gonna keep on loving you, loving you lord!

Oh yes, Lord, you can take the rainbow
take the rainbow from my sky
And you can turn my daylight
you can turn my daylight into night

And you take the sweetness
you can take the sweetness from my life
Oh but I’m gonna keep on loving you, loving you lord!
And you can take the one
you can take that one I love the best
You can have my wealth my fame, Lord and all the rest
And even those things that seem so very dear to me
This is me singing to you lord, I’m gonna keep on loving you, loving you lord…

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Dad, there is so much love you have given me, and it will stay in my heart, forever and ever. Nothing in the world can ever drive me away from you.

For that is love.