A few days ago, I was walking my 3.5 mile route on Thunderbird when a poem formed on my fingers. Let me explain. I was walking enjoying the 4 pm heat and my walk when I started to think in haiku. A haiku poem started to move from my brain to my mouth. As I started to say it, test it out loud, I would count the syllables on the fingers of my non-walking stick hand.
I was more tired than usual but was determined to make the climb. The high side was tougher for me that day. I finished my first bottle of water earlier than usual. I pushed on.
Here is the tragedy. I didn’t remember until just now as I’m sitting here at the keyboard. I forgot the poem. It is gone. Even counting silent syllables on my left hand didn’t bring it back.
Another example of the fact that I’ve forgotten more than most people remember. Can I get back what I’ve lost?
Do you remember my daughter? The one I mentioned recently, who surprised me with a visit. We had Chinese food. We talked. We reconciled. Then came Father’s Day. In the recent past a day of silence. But not this year.
I’m grateful and happy to say that my daughter honored me on this Father’s Day (6/16) with a sweet greeting and message that made my heart sing. Thank you, my sweetheart. And the pictures you sent me of your fine, good-looking son graduating from Ft. Benning were a special treat. I’m proud of you both.
Father’s Day comes once a year. But not being a father. Once you have children, you are a father forever. No matter what the circumstances are, no matter how the circumstances of relationships, geography, or whatever change, we are always the father of our children. If we are good fathers or poor fathers, we are fathers. Is it trite to say that if you are reading this you had one? For better or worse it is so.
My father used to tell me over and over again that my hand was so small that it was no bigger than his thumbnail because I was a “preemie.” So, the haiku about my premature birth.
With Father’s Day, there is a catch, a double-edged sword. I not only think of me as a father and my daughters, but I think of MY father. I don’t want to but I do think of him. As a young soldier, I remember him recounting the thumbnail story. He liked telling me the story, but his love for me didn’t live up to it. He was very abusive. Add to that the trauma associated with the fact that my twin sister died at birth; my parents blamed me for her death.
Maybe I shouldn’t write blogs just before going to bed. It is going on 10:30 pm. You see, my father seemed to forget the joy of childbirth. I’ve got to dig my way out of this or I’ll get myself and you depressed. There is an up side.
I saw it in my daughter’s face, in her smile when we sat and had Chinese food. Our love was unbroken. For me, time disappeared. I saw her when she was five again. The light of our love as father and daughter did not go out.
When the love of a father (or parent) has failed us, who can we turn to? Who can we trust?
Psalm 27:10 says: Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. (NIV84)
You can take this to heart. I know personally it is true. And there is another scripture I want to mention that has been on my heart all week.
Isaiah 42:3 says, in part: A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. (NIV84)
I am bruised, but will not be broken and cast aside. The Lord will not let his light in me go out. He tends the wick. God the Father loves me with a steadfast unfailing love.
My Father God, knew that my hand, as big as my father’s thumbnail, would someday be in his hand. May it be so for you. Parenting isn’t easy or perfect. As a child of God, we have a father in heaven who will never forget us or leave us.