It was 2003 and we were planning on celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary with a special dinner out, just the two of us, as soon as my husband finished work. The dinner reservation was made, and one of the older daughters was placed in charge of the younger children. Everything was running along like a well- oiled machine.
When my phone rang that day, and I saw it was one of my fitness instructors, a sick dread came over me. As Group Fitness Coordinator for the YMCA, when instructors could not find a substitute, it was my responsibility to fill the void and teach the class. Sure enough, the instructor could not find anyone to teach the class, and while my plans were impacted, the class must go on!
We immediately put Anniversary Plan B into action. We decided to meet later for dinner and Robin called to change the reservation. Even with everything re-scheduled and rearranged, when I started the class, something just didn’t feel right.
After the class ended, I hurried down the stairs and a staff member approached with a concerned look on their face. I was serving as Athenian YMCA Building manager at the time and assumed a toilet was clogged up again, or a member was upset and needed a call back. The staff member took me aside and with tremendous compassion looked me right in the eyes and said, “Your sister called and said to go to the hospital immediately, it’s about your father.” I grabbed my fitness bag out of the locker room and ran to my car dripping with sweat.
By the time I reached the hospital, my husband was already there, along with a lot of other people. There was a general sadness among the people, with many crying and attempting to console one another. My heart sunk immediately; my father was gone and it didn’t seem possible. Even though he had been dealing with Leukemia, undergoing chemotherapy, he was as strong as an ox, one of the strongest men I knew. He demonstrated a quiet inner strength, didn’t complain about anything, and you could see his resolve in his eyes and posture.
My father, Tom Goetz, moved our family to Owensboro in 1968 to open the Regional Airport. At that time there wasn’t much to the airport, just a small trailer. My father was hired to be the airport manager, and Chief controller, and he happily served Owensboro’s Airport until 1993. I have many fond memories of the airport, especially the spiral staircase leading up to the control tower. A good day included walking from our home in Thoroughbred Acres to the airport, and my father allowing me to buy something out of the small vending machines.
I can see my father sitting in the control tower, his eyes twinkling looking out into the sky, puffing away on a sweet smelling pipe, while directing pilots on take-offs and landings. His calming demeanor and quiet presence made the work look easy. He felt a joyful responsibility to contribute to the community, and was actively involved in bringing air shows, including appearances of the Navy’s Blue Angels to Owensboro. He was instrumental in organizing the band at Owensboro Catholic High School, chaired the Girl Scouts Golf Tournaments, and served on the board at Hospice.
Another fond memory was being at the airport when celebrities would fly in to perform at the Executive Inn. Even without social media, people seemed to know when to be at the airport. At that time, the airport was a hot spot for the community.
When his work schedule allowed, my father would enjoy taking photographs of the celebrities flying into the airport. But as I grew older it became obvious he treated all of his subjects like celebrities. It was the taking of the photograph that gave him great pleasure; capturing that particular person or moment in time. As a young girl it was quite impressive watching him painstakingly develop his pictures in our upstairs bathroom. And I still remember him allowing me to look through his lens before taking the next picture.
My father was not a rich man, but he knew what made him happy. So you can understand how blessed I felt to receive his cameras, and camera equipment, as an inheritance. Even though they were not worth very much money, knowing the value he placed on them meant the world to me.
There has been some lengthy delay in receiving the full measure of my priceless inheritance, but that has not kept me from realizing the joy. My father loved me enough to give me his greatest gifts, his love and his hobby!
God has taught me that the cameras are simply material things, and I, all of us, need to be storing up treasures in heaven. God reminded me that I am His heir, a daughter of the King of Kings. As an heir to His kingdom I am promised eternal life through Jesus Christ. But, I can enjoy the Christian life right now; I don’t have to wait till I get to heaven!
Romans 8:17 says that “…and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Our inheritance in Christ trumps every situation the world throws at us, and a lot of stuff is being thrown at us. Even if earthly treasures are withheld from us, no one can take our eternal inheritance; it is permanent and protected by God!
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live in great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)
When we allow ourselves to look through the lens of God’s eyes, we see our lives shaped and molded for His purposes. Our sight becomes sensitive to the things of God. We must claim our inheritance through Him. We need not worry or fret over earthly fairness; fighting over those possessions can destroy our witness, and negatively impact families for generations.
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” (1 Peter 1:6-8)
This Shaped by Faith Column by Theresa Rowe appeared in the Owensboro Messenger Inquirer June 3, 2017