My Daddy's been gone two years now, so it's truly a blessing that I can still see him in my mind, alive and well, with eyes twinkling. Even now, I turn to him in tough times and hear his voice encouraging me.
Photographs and blog posts help keep his memory fresh. I've spent the past twenty minutes reading over some old ones. My favorites are "Dear Daddy" and "When Wishes Come True", but "A Blessed Birthday" is bittersweet. It was the last birthday he celebrated on earth.
I suspected it might be when I wrote it.
My daddy was a great man. Of course, I didn't realize it for most of my life, because he wasn't great in the worldly way, and not even in the obviously spiritual way. He was humble. He didn't like a lot of attention aimed at him. But he was funny and generous and hardworking.
Most importantly, he loved with all of his heart, fiercely and unconditionally, hanging on despite the inevitable pain that love like that brings. That's true strength, I believe, and I want to live and love like that.
Thank you, Daddy. I love you and miss you and give thanks for you every day. May you be celebrating every day in heaven!
There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.
~John Gregory Brown, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, 1994
Tonight, please keep another Father of mine in your prayers. Twenty years ago, when I knew it was time to make up my mind about becoming Catholic, Monsignor Joseph Schmitt, the pastor of our small church, agreed to meet with me one-on-one every Tuesday to answer my questions.
After a few months, I was confirmed a Catholic... and was quickly recruited by him to teach CCD. I often covered for the church secretary, so I spent many days working alongside him, having lively discussions over lunch, and then serving beside him on our church planning committee. He offered blessings on our vacations, comfort when we were in pain, and advice when we felt lost.
Just a few months younger than my dad, Father Joe's health has been steadily declining. He's been in the hospital several days now and isn't expected to recover. I'm grateful I was able to stop and see him yesterday... to tell him thank you and let him know how grateful I am that he was a part of our lives.
Please pray for peace and comfort, for him and his family. Thank you!
Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father!
~Lydia M. Child, Philothea: A Romance, 1836