Dan Stringer

navigating the convergence of faith, culture and the common good

From a Father’s heart

December 11, 2010

Here is the text of what I shared at Vincent’s memorial service on December 3:

Five years ago, I stood before many of you at the memorial service for my father, Ron Stringer, who passed away in October 2005 at the age of 56. I had just turned 25 when we lost my dad, and now I find myself barely 30 years old, struggling to cope with another loss of an immediate family member whose life ended far too soon.

Tonight, as we honor the impact and influence of Vincent’s life, I am no longer in the role of a grieving son. This time, I am the grieving father. Rather than grieving the loss of my own father, I have myself become a grieving father. Maybe this is all part of growing up. Maybe this is all part of true fatherhood.

In losing my son, I’ve had to re-visit childhood in order to re-learn the lost art of crying like a baby. I just miss Vincent. I miss my good baby boy – that’s really all there is to it. And while there’s so much to say about our family’s journey with Vincent through the furnace of affliction these past 18 months, there are hardly any words that can fully articulate the depth and scope of this loss.

Perhaps I’m catching a glimpse of what it was like for the Everlasting Father to lose his only Son, to see him plunged into suffering, pain and death. Or maybe this is a hint of how beloved Son of God lost his Father in the darkness of Calvary, crying out “Why have you forsaken me?” I did not want to drink this cup, and I pleaded with God countless times over the last 6 months, asking if there was any way for our family to be spared from this sorrow. Many of you were with us in that place, praying for a miracle until the end.

Now that Vincent has passed from this life to the next, as his father, I must once again pass through the deep waters of grief and heartache. But if there is any hope or comfort to be found in this valley, it is found not merely in the treasured memories of my son Vincent, whose name means “Victorious one.” It is found in the true and greater Victorious Son who is before all things and in whom all things hold together. If there is any strength or courage or peace to be found in the face of death, I have found it in the risen Redeemer who not only holds the whole world in his hands, but simply holds me when I cry – just like my dad used to hold me, and just like I used to hold Vincent.

Out of darkness comes light and because of Christ’s death and resurrection, both Vincent and my dad now stand truly victorious in the arms of Jesus where there is no longer any suffering, sickness or pain. I can only rest in the hope that my father and my son are both fully alive, wholly themselves in the presence of the true Father and the true Son.

And because of this living hope, I look forward to the day when my faith will become sight and all my sorrows will be finally be swallowed up into an eternal victory. Until then, I will carry wounds and scars, but to the extent that you see me surviving, functioning, recovering and even rising from these ashes, all credit is due to the supernatural grace of God revealed in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

My dad never got to meet Vincent in this life, but I suspect they are already making up for lost time in the presence of the true Father and the true Son. So praise be to the One who will wipe away every tear.

  • Dan…thanks for posting this. I didn’t get to hear your remarks during the memorial and truly felt I had missed out. You are a good man–thanks for the friendship. –Paul

  • That’s beautiful. Thanks for posting something so meaningful and personal.

  • Beth Stutzman

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Dan. You don’t know me… We were in the Philippines with Norm and Linda years ago…I’ve been following your story and praying/crying in hope first, then sorrow… It’s hard to figure many things out, but in sorrow I think God follows his word to “weep with those who weep”…. I appreciated the sense of identifying with God’s heart….God bless you and Becca.

  • Jordan Fabin

    I can’t imagine the amount of will it takes to be the rock in your family’s lives right now. But Dan, God has used you and will continue to use you in his plans. What these plans are we can’t put it on us to figure out. Just know that you are an inspiration to me and to many others. A couple years ago, I lost my dad as well; it pains me that he and my grandpa won’t be there to see my kids, but hopefully as you said, that doesn’t mean they won’t ever see them.

    May God bless you and the rest of the Stringer family. Thanks Dan.

  • Martha Macomber

    Daniel, this is an amazing testimony to your trust in the Lord. Oh, I know there are times you have to fight back through the darkness to see His light again. And I know that there are many long hard days ahead. You have experienced more deep sorrow in your young life than many do throughout their lives. Your faith still holds, and I believe that the Lord is holding you close to His hard in these difficult days. I’m glad to hear you are able to weep, and know that Jesus weeps with you. Words can seem so empty at times like this, but I’m thankful for those who’ve just come and sat with you. Know that many folks are hurting with you (though of course never to the extent that you as Vincent’s father and Ron’s son) but that means they are also upholding you to our heavenly Father. May you sense His great comfort day to day.

  • Brother H

    Praise be to the One who will wipe away every tear. Amen

  • Diana and Frank Lim

    Dear Dan and Becca,
    We have followed your story too and cry with you over the passing of precious Vincent. We’ll all have many questions for the Lord one day. May the pictures, camera, computer so unfortunately stolen be returned to you.
    May the Lord bless you and keep you and your family in the Palm of His Almighty Hand.
    Our prayers continue,
    Diana

  • Benjamin Gurung

    Dear Dan and Becca Stringer,

    Shalom!

    It is really hard time you all have gone through in these couple of weeks. To loose the most beloved one is very pathetic, which only the Parents can understand. As we are the Parents of three children we know what place occupy by our children in our lives. You really a good father and moth and grandma and all who really served and tried hard in various means to keep Vincent with you. We also asked God with fasting and pray to given new life to him, but God Will was different from us. He loved him so much and took him before tasting the sins of this world. We are equally sorry with you in this bereaved time and console you with only one Hope that one day we will meet him in heaven where he has gone before us.

    May God be with you.

    Yours In Him,

    Benjamin Gurung
    Bhutan

  • Marshall Terpstra

    Thanks for sharing Dan,

    I’m grieving with you all. I will keep you all in my prays.

    Marshall

  • Lucky Popo

    Dear Dan,
    As you shared these thoughts at Vinnie’s memorial service, I couldn’t believe you were able to share these very personal feelings from the depth of your heart with all who were there. I am so proud of you, and I know Dad is too. He is enjoying getting to know our precious baby boy. Love, Mom

  • Tana

    Dear Dan,

    I have been following the updates about Vincent for almost 2 months. You don’t know me and friend of your is a friend of mine and she made me aware of what you family was going through and add you all to my prayers. I’m stunned by your strength, I’m thrilled that you are drawing so much from your Father in Heaven and sustained in our great hope. Hope like no other-We have been given great precious promises through our Lord and we look toward their assured fulfillment. That is our where our hope lies in between the promise and fulfillment. I’m 50 years old and you being have already learned something very precious. Your Faith, Your Hope, is Not misplaced. Our flesh and hearts may fail but the One in whom you believed Has Never Failed. He truly is carrying you in His arms. God Bless you and your family. I will meet you, your family, and dear Vincent one day when we are all in Glory-No tears, No sadness, only Pure Delight.

  • Tana

    Uh Oh, Should of proof read my post before sending it. I made a few grammatical errors and left out a word or two. Sorry. Tana~

  • I stumbled upon your blog when I saw a link on another blog. I know some Stringers in Sacramento. I am deeply moved by your thoughts and emotions as you grieve Vincent. I can see from your writing and the video, Vincent was surrounded with love May God bless you as your forge ahead, always holding him close in your heart.

    http://dweidlich.com

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