To Our Fathers:
You are the loving wave of the passerby at the bus stop, a smiling break from a tightly wound up day. The only reason I grew to enjoy Christmas is because you taught me that life is a celebration: and so you should take it slowly with lots of cookies and morning cuddles. And every day I have remembered your words, engraved between the lines of my heart, and when I feel like throwing a big tantrum on the kitchen floor of life after everything I tried to cook up burnt up, instead, I throw my hands up in the air like you used to do to lift me up into the sky, and let out a big laugh. Those were the moments that opened a window within me to receive the love of my Heavenly Father. Thank you.
The redemptive love that you showed me that day I took my first breath is a gift that has shaped my heart into the fountain of gratitude it is today. You chose to memorize the lines of my little hands and the way my nose scrunched up like yours sometimes does when you’re thinking. You stepped on that last cigarette butt on my birthday because your spirit told you that the second extraordinary treasure in your life had been born. And you loved me with your eyes, with all the skepticism that still remained in them. And you loved me with your arms that could not stop shaking from the natural way in which my head fit between your chest and the fold of your arm. You loved me with every part of you; you loved me with your very backbone each time you bent over my crib to rescue me from the misery my young stomach was in, and with your very silence, loving me even in my crankiest state, knowing that behind a scowl, a frown, a tantrum, there was a huge heart that knew how to reflect, absorb, and store the beauty of the Kingdom of God.
Nearly a lifetime ago, we fell in love with each other. It’s been an honor to get to know your heart, as it loved me even when I didn’t know how to love myself. To have you sit silently by my side that night I forgot that love was redemptive, even the one that existed in me. Today, understanding that maybe your silence was your way of begging God to teach me about what was really inside of me. I’m still a little foggy as to who you have been to the world, but to me you have been a prayer. And as I’ve recently realized, prayer is the most beautiful and intimate expression our beings can involve themselves in. I pray that your own Father writes and displays Himself within the lines of your heart, and His silence holds you every night: the nights where you forget the vast beauty and love that reside within you and the nights where “beauty” becomes loosely defined in dialogue with the world. I pray you come to feel your head fall perfectly between His chest and the fold of His arm, and if your head decides to throw back, that your lips would laugh in celebration and gratitude of the magnificent life that you are.
Wherever you are, may your skin burn the same way mine does when I open up our favorite book and take a deep breath before opening it to the first page. A reminder that that even when some days seem to nag more than the need to clean my room, I know how to breathe because there was a day when I took your breath away.