On April 30, my final day of work at Intersections, my Dad died. He was 95 and left a full legacy of memorable moments and lessons that last a lifetime.
I write these words from Pennsylvania where I am visiting my Mom as she gamely gets on with this new phase of her life after 72 years of marriage to my Dad. We are both still sad, but grateful for his presence in our lives. While going through his papers, my Mom discovered a letter written some seven years earlier and never sent. It was addressed, “Hello Family” and reads, in part, as follows:
“On the morning of our 65th anniversary I followed my usual custom of spending a few moments on the sun porch reading from a publication of daily devotions by the United Church of Christ…I find it perhaps the most useful time of my day.
That morning the Scripture was I Corinthians 13 [the traditional text at wedding ceremonies—“love is patient and kind, love is not jealous or conceited or proud…”]. As I read the brief text I reasoned with myself how this famous biblical message could appear on our 65th wedding anniversary, to be seen and read by me (for there are many days when I miss my morning devotion readings). Was it a coincidence? A little personal miracle?
I reasoned yes, it was a small personal miracle! One that only I could personally feel and be ever gratified by. Nothing spectacular that would have meaning to others, but unusual feelings of wonder and visions for me and Arlene [my mother].
So I wanted to share my thoughts with family and request you look up the Scripture and visualize, for a moment, my miracle.”
My recent writings in this space have focused on the turmoil emanating out of Washington, its impact on our collective psyche and indeed the potential ramifications for the whole world. In Beyond the Comma, the book I have recently written (published by Pilgrim Press and launched in June) a central tenet is to be attentive not just to geopolitical dynamics, but also to the intimate “intersections” that make us fully human. Unexpectedly discovering my Dad’s letter was a reminder to be open to what is close to the heart, even as the world seems to be tearing itself asunder around you.
So, I thought it was time for a pause in these weekly entries—a comma moment, if you will. When the headlines (and these writings) are filled with “the mooch” and the mogul, the lawyers and the lies, the Russian saga and the revolving door at the White House, hearing my Dad’s gentle admonition serves as an important counterbalance. As I acknowledge the many miracles that surround me every single moment, I rediscover what it means to be fully human.
Thanks, Dad, for your wisdom…yet again.
4 thoughts on “A Gentle Reminder”
Amazing and beautiful and so like Grandpa! I miss him. Thanks for sharing this little piece of him. When the world is so crazy it keeps us positive to know that there are people out there past and present who remind us what it means to be truly good.
I love when they send us messages from the other side. What a gift and a blessing. xoxoox
Nice Bob, and as you clearly know, very important. This sort of reminder is a major factor in my continued trips to Denmark. One sees America more clearly from here, as one sees Denmark more clearly from NYC.
Hope your summer is re-creating.
How good and wonderful it is when private messages/notes become public and shared beyond the original intended audience. Thank you, Bob, for generously sharing your father’s wisdom and very loving instruction. Indeed, a gentle reminder that nudges us and ultimately compels us to elevate the love within us that binds all humanity in an interwoven reality that truly matters.