I’ve known the time was coming…I could hear its "footsteps" from the distance like the rumble of thunder faraway. I’ve watched, listened, helped, encouraged, challenged, grieved and supported many, many people over the years as their parents moved into a season of life where time and energy was demanded. I am not surprised by any means…I expected it in a way. My problem is that I expected my mother to need the help as she got older. That was "addressed" beyond my ability to control several years ago when she unexpectedly died. Now, my father…the one who has always prided himself on his rugged individualism and self-reliance is in need of some support and help. He’s battled a bipolar disorder for years…for the last 20 or so years, he’s been surviving and coping with the issue. I’m not going to pretend or communicate that he had his issues licked…he didn’t. They were simply under control…to a point. He lived for 20 years still able to work and function relatively well. In fact, when my mom and grandmother were not doing well physically, my dad was the primary care-giver. He took care of them like a charge nurse. When they both died over the past three years, he’s moved on. He worked, socialized, lived in his small apartment and seemed to be on the way to living for a while in peace and contentment. Then, an accident happened before Christmas this past year that threw him into a tailspin emotionally. Now, without belaboring the point, he has just been released from two week’s of psychiatric hospitalization and is attempting to build his emotional life once more. He’s really struggling…as you may know, I’ve done battle with depression for over 20 years…in fact, I’ve been doing some hand to hand combat with it myself over the past couple of months. For me to jump into his "pit" and become his #1 cheerleader has been both a challenge and exhausting. So, this stage in our journey has father and son has taken a dramatic turn…you see, I’ve never been that close to my dad. Even now, as I lay out some help and companionship for him over the next few days, I can see him struggle with the reality of my presence and countenance. Conversations are difficult…getting information from him is tougher and watching his confidence in living life diminish rapidly is absolutely heart-breaking. I frankly don’t know where it is heading…but I’m living the journey with him. That’s going to have to be all that I can do now…one foot in front of the other…help without expectation…love without rules or boundaries. May the Lord bless these feeble and difficult steps.