Last night, I was sick. Pain, throwing up… miserable. I won’t go into the details. What I will say is that being sick is even more difficult when you can’t move. So you’re lying on your back and you need to vomit… Yuck, I know. But, what would you do? You would hope and pray that someone loving, caring, strong and gentle would be there with you to help you get through it. To help you survive and feel better.
For me, that someone was my dad. Yes, I am a grown up. But, physically, I am still as dependent as a little baby. And, so, both of my parents have simply continued to take care of me through the years. And I am more grateful, humbled, and in awe of them than words could ever say. So, what follows (something I hadn’t meant to post yesterday) are only little dribbles and spurts of the vast ocean that is my love for my dad…
Father’s Day has passed, but good fathers need to be honored on more than just one day. Too often, it seems that all we hear about are the deadbeat dads and the single moms’ heroic struggles and sacrifices to raise children completely on their own. But, we don’t often hear about heroic dads. I don’t know why, but it’s not because there aren’t any. I definitely have one.
I have written before about the sacrifices that my parents have made throughout their lives in order to care for me. Being completely dependent on others, and weakening every year, it terrifies me to think of where I would be without them. Oh, I know that there are plenty of state programs that would be able to provide for my daily living needs. But… would that really be living? Or merely surviving? There is a world of difference between the two. A universe.
Life is precious and I respect it in all forms. I am willing to continue life in a nursing home, without my parents, with only paid employees coming in and out to toilet, wash, dress, and feed me. My mind and soul are free. And God’s love, I believe, would be enough to help me, not only survive – but also live. Still… This would be my ultimate test. This would be the trying life of a martyr. And, sadly, people live these lives every day. Lives without human love.
And so, I am ever grateful for my loved ones! I am ever grateful for my dad, for his sense of humor, his curiosity about the world, his ability to listen and empathize, his generosity with his talents and time. To him, I say,
for giving me the world:
for holding me close
and lifting me up,
for inspiring my wonder
and sacrificing for my joy.
May I live to the fullness of the love
that you have poured into me.
One of the most touching and true things that I have ever read about fatherhood was written by my dad. He posted it on Facebook, of all places. Here it is:
“On thinking of Fathers Day: my memories of my dad are minimal at best. I know he was a nice guy, probably a lot of fun to hang with, but I saw little of that. He was not a big part of my life. Sad to say. He worked as a laborer, unskilled, to provide for his family. I’m guessing he was also an honest guy.
The big problem was that he “liked” his drink. It reduced his involvement in my life…
So, if any of you fathers want to become dads, get involved in your kid’s life as best as you can. Tell them that you love them always. Make memories with them, and they will keep you with them forever.”
I wish that my dad could always have known how deeply he was loved – the way that my dad raised me to always know that he was there for me, loving me. You, Daddy, are in my heart forever! You are a true dad, and a heroic dad, going above and beyond the call of duty – sacrificing yourself for the call of love. And I pray that I may keep you with me, by my side, for all the days of the rest of my life.
One final thought:
It isn’t enough to have been fathered …
The gift of life is a wonder and joy. It requires the unifying act of a man and a woman, but, once the new life begins, the man is physically distant and can remain so.
The true wonder and joy of life is loving – and true loving continues without end. Therefore , God created the heavens and the earth and did not turn away. So, too, after the required act for beginning life is accomplished, the continuing gift of loving begins…. In willfully choosing to take into his arms what God has made… a new human life… to love.
To claim this life as his offspring is not the wonder of love.
To give his life for this child… bring the helpless daily bread, shelter and protect the weak, sacrifice sweat and blood and years for the new life that has come from one moment’s act… This is being a father.
It is not enough to have been fathered, for even God did not leave us alone, but pours His Spirit out to us every day in of our lives, so that we may live in His Love.
And even when God the Father sent us His Only Begotten Son, the Savior of the World, He made sure there was a Joseph to daily protect and love the God made Man.
Everyone needs a Dad.
For all of you out there who were fathered, but who never really had a dad, I pray that you may know how deeply you are loved… Loved by the very One who created you, brought you into being and gave you life. Who sacrificed and gave His life for you.
Human love, after all, is a reflection of the Divine.
© 2016 Christina Chase
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.