Even the infant starfish
that accidentally tagged along
in our dive bag is somewhere’s else.
So many treasures,
gone missing or
set aside for later days.
It’s empty now.
As it has been for some time,
gathering dust and watching:
three children grow bold and strong,
several pairs of pups
playing and loving their ways into
hearts that will never be without them.
A father learn to lead without compelling
and a mother learn to follow without resisting.
It’s empty now.
Each opening is perfectly sized:
More e’s than q’s,
more s’s than w’s,
but r’s and h’s, nearly the same.
The printer knows,
What runs low he replaces, because
What is receive without e’s?
What is suppose without s’s?
I am perfectly proportioned
for the letters meant
for the words I’m to share
in the notes, cards, and messages,
in the conversations and calls,
in the texts and emails.
Yes, even the poems, posts, and prose
are already supplied,
as are the comments, both
spoken and unspoken.
A work in progress, that listening.
“I’m not empty!” says the printer’s tray,
sounding a bit offended.
“I’m perfectly proportioned – to the very last letter –
to hold the words you will convey
with your life.”
We said our final goodbyes to Dad this weekend. What a collection we were, gathered there to pay our respects.
- The golf group – who remembered the yips he got on short putts like I did
- The bridge partners – who remembered the joy the game gave him
- The business partners and employees – who remember the mind and the method of a man on a mission
- The Starbucks cohort – who remember the tall, black coffee and ready conversation
- The family – who realize how much of this man they didn’t know
A bit of an enigma, this guy. But put us all together in one room and have us share stories, and lo and behold we’re all talking about the same guy! yips, joy, mind, method, coffee, conversation…the common denominator: working together to make it work better.
Funny, as I made the rounds people would greet me with…”I knew your Dad from…” They all fit in a category. I joked with Adam, a young man whom Dad had employed and mentored over the last 5 years, that we all needed colored t-shirts corresponding to the John-team we were on. “That’s exactly what your Dad would have said,” he told me.
We all laughed.
I loved chatting with an athletic looking, sport shirt-clad man named Mark, who also happened to be in a wheelchair. Mark was a golfer. He had an assist device that allowed him to stand from his chair so he could swing the club. But Dad felt, in looking at him swing, that if he had something on his chair that widened his base of support, he could really improve his game. That, according to Mark, led to connecting him with the head golf pro at the Atlanta Athletic Club to see how this could be created. Mark told me he had just discovered such a device in use by another disabled golfer who could now hit the ball 300 yards. Mark lamented that he had shared the video of this, but Dad didn’t have time to see it. “He would have loved it,” Mark told me. Made me smile; yes he would have.
Yep. That spark of an idea. There’s something more we need to do with this. There’s an idea here ready to be uncovered, ready to be acted upon, raring to go. That was Dad. Not trying to make a fortune. Not trying to get attention. Just trying to solve your problem, and yours, and yours. He lived simply and was completely satisfied, but he didn’t settle for that.
This was not discontent for him; it was purpose. He did not want what you had, he wanted what you wanted and immediately activated on helping you realize that desire. But only if you were in honest pursuit, which meant you were willing to work hard and apply all your resources to the project. That was his directive in every day.
Some people who came to the Service did not know my father except through his wife Melanie, whom he adored. They came on this day because of her. Even these introduced themselves to me and offered honestly, “We didn’t know your father, but now after hearing you and seeing you, now we do.”
What treasured words those are. ‘We didn’t know the father, but now we have seen him and we know him.’
That would be enough. If I could live out my days in such a way that people remarked, “You remind me of your father,” I would be content. Joy, mind, method, coffee, conversation, connection, solution…everything but the yips on my short putts, please. But yes, I even had those. Guess I’m more like my father than I thought.
What a privilege. What a responsibility.
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” ~ John 14: 15-20