Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2012
in Emotional, Relational, Social, Spiritual, Sports, Values
Curtis Eichelberger’s new book Men of Sunday reviewed here recounts the story of Trent Dilfer, his son, and his family’s heart-aching, heart-breaking, and inspiring saga. You might want to read part 1 and part 2 and part 3 first.
It’s been nine years since Trevin’s death. He’d be nearly fifteen now and probably following in his daddy’s footsteps playing football in the Stanford area. Instead, Trent and Cass are following Maddie, who has become quite a volleyball player and is being scouted by Division 1 programs.
The family speaks of Trevin more easily now. Something will happen around the house, and Trent or Cass will say, “Remember the time Trevin . . .” without getting teary-eyed. The girls have come to terms with their brother’s death, too, and are maturing into beautiful, smart young ladies who are living their own lives with their own hopes and dreams for the future.
Their recovery from Trevin’s death took time, though. “When my kids get sick, it is horrific,” Dilfer says. The family moved just outside Palo Alto a few years ago. “We live twenty minutes from where Trevin died. We’ve been back to the hospital twice. When [Delaney] was four or five, she had to have her gallbladder taken out. The room was directly above the room Trevin died in. We had to walk the halls for five days while she had the gallbladder taken out, and there were complications with the anesthesia. I mean, revisiting that, to go there for doctors’ appointments with my kids at the same hospital. To see the nurses. We are confronted with this all the time. I still fight a lot of this stuff, but what God impresses on my heart is, Why don’t you get it? It’s so much bigger than the present stuff you are dealing with.”
When Trevin died, he was five and a half, and his youngest sister Delaney was one. He had been a little rough around the edges at first, but after she was born he “softened up like a cupcake,” says his father. Overnight, she was the greatest thing that ever happened in his life. He’d become someone’s big brother after all, and that’s quite a responsibility.
What’s weird, Trent says, is that Delaney is the spitting image of Trevin in every way.
“She looks like him, she’s built like him, she acts like him, she talks like him, her eyes are this grayish-blue, which are like his,” Trent reflects. “Every day we look at her, we see Trevin. It’s crazy. I appreciate God’s little nuisances and how He manifests Himself in a million different aspects of life.”
Dilfer, who now works as a football analyst for ESPN, says he’s had time to heal and gain perspective on Trevin’s life and all the lives his son touched.
“The takeaway for me is that so many things that we put a tremendous value on while we are here on earth pale in comparison to the eternal value of our souls,” Dilfer says. “Even—and this is the one people really freak out with—even our kids.
“You gotta let go because they are not ours. They are a gift, they are a responsibility, they are treasures, but we don’t own them. Ultimately God holds us in His hands, and He has ownership.
“The more I learn to let go of the things that are important to me in life, the more clearly I begin to understand how much God loves me and loves us and values our eternal state so much more than our present state.
“And yet, He still allows us great experiences while we are here. We should live life to the fullest. We shouldn’t live life indifferently. There is tremendous value in what we do with our time here. But it is all a backdrop to our eternal lives. I get it now. That is the wisdom that has come from all this.”
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Peter 5:10)