Monday, June 20, 2011

Fathers Day 2011

Do you have time for a story?

Good. Get some coffee. Wait. Too hot for coffee, to early for beer. So iced tea or diet Coke. I'll wait.


There once was a girl. She lived in a small trailer next to her father's. The Nebraska sky cradled her home like cupped hands. The trains hollered through like thunder.

Her kitchen was small and sad. Her living room cramped with furniture she had collected in another life, with bigger walls and bigger dreams. With a bigger future. Now she sat in one corner of a couch meant for a family. She didn't allow herself to look at the places that should have been filled, jumped on, stained with milk and juice.

The bed was large and empty. The hallway rang with only her footsteps. Only her washcloth sat on the sink, only her towel draped on the door.

She sat on the porch her father built her. Watered her plants. Watched the dust rise and settle with each passing car.

And her heart bled with loneliness. Her mind was trapped by circumstance and the days spilled endlessly into another.

The future was not a future. Just days and days of waiting for something that never came.

Sadness made her heart heavy, regret filled her mouth with ashes.

And then.

Her name in his mouth was like music. His face when he looked at her like a lighthouse in a storm. His entire being, face, soul, voice...all of it was a perfect match to hers.

Love came again. When she had given up. It rushed through all the open portals of her life like seawater, burning away what had been. It washed away the old, and created the new.

He was a miracle to her. He held her hand and made her his wife. He gave her a family when she didn't know what that word meant.

He gave her time, and patience, and his shoulder and his love.
In time, he gave her babies.

And she watched him with them, his easy nature, his ability to care and love and give just as he had to her- without reservation or expectation.

He kissed them on their full round cheeks, put them to bed at night. He changed diapers and made meals and woke in the night to newborn cries, to toddler cries.

He gave, as his father had taught him to give. With everything. Nothing held back. Family is family. Blood is blood. And that is sacred.

He taught this girl what it meant to love without pain. That hurt was inevitable, but pain was not. That forgiveness and honest apologies are the currency of life. That love is not perfect or romantic, but strong and honest. That love means holding on and not letting go.

He held her babies in the palm of his hand. He carried them through the church after their baptism and communion. He handed his newborn son to his father, introducing him to his namesake.

He watched his daughter grow in loveliness. He blessed her beauty and kind heart.

And he gave this girl a chance to become what she was born to be- a mother, a wife. He helped her to settle all of the broken pieces in her life, and to learn that her heart was not ruined by what came before.

He healed her. He saved her. And he continues to be the best man she has ever and will ever know.

Happy Father's Day, Mark. I love you more than words can ever say. Thank you for my beautiful life.