There is one memory of my father that stands out among all the memories I have of him. It is permanently etched in my brain, and I can tell you it causes me to think about my actions and my words to my kids and to anyone I come in contact with. At least I try. Sometimes I fail, but I try.
We were living in the house by the river. I know I was little and shared a bedroom and bed with my younger brother, Jeff. I don’t remember how many brothers and sisters were living at the house at that time, but I would wager a good number of the ten of us. Probably my older sisters had moved out and had gone to college.
I know I had never thought I had lacked anything growing up, but I had come to realize that we were poor. The guy at the little market where dad liked to shop gave us healthy discounts on what was purchased. He was a friend of my dad. A good guy.
Again, I was little, maybe first or second grade at the time. We had gotten ready for bed, probably in bed, and I had gotten up for some reason. I remember walking past my parent’s bedroom, and I saw my dad kneeling down at the side of the bed, praying. His head was down. His hands were folded. He had stayed that way for quite a long time.
I watched, mesmerized. The kids in our family were brought up to pray. We went to church each Sunday, 9:15 AM at Holy Angels, third or fourth pew in front on the left. Heck, we could have had our names carved permanently in the wood. That was our place, all of us, each Sunday. During Lent, we’d pray the rosary as a family on our knees in the living room. A long prayer and it wasn’t comfortable. Back then when I was little, I couldn’t wait for it to end.
And while we prayed before meals, hands folded, head down and eyes closed, and while my little brother and I prayed each night before crawling into bed, I had no idea that my dad prayed by himself at night. I don’t know why I didn’t know that. I don’t know why I hadn’t considered that. It should have been a given, I guess. But it honestly hadn’t occurred to me.
But there he was, on his knees, hands folded, head down, in prayer.
I remember sneaking back once or twice after and saw the same thing. My dad prayed. By himself, with no one watching . . . except for me from a distance in the dark. And it stayed with me all these years.
I wondered, and still wonder, if my kids know I pray. My routine is the morning. I have a devotional I read that contains a scripture passage and a thought, which is followed by a short prayer. It starts my day out. At night, I’m usually in bed and I go over what I did or didn’t do. My mind plays and trips over all the things I could-have-should-have-but-didn’t-do. You know that game, right? I think we all do.
But I don’t know if Hannah or Emily know I pray each day. I don’t think I gave them the example my dad gave me. That bothers me. Prayer and spirituality play an important role in my life, but I don’t know that my daughters, or Wil when he was alive, knew that. Yes, we went to church. Yes, my kids were all Baptized. Yes, my kids had their First Communion, and many others since.
But . . .
It seems I left something out. They are older and have begun their own lives now. I reach out daily to them each morning and many times throughout the day, wishing them a good day. I do this with several of the kids I taught, or coached, or was counselor or principal for. But, do they know me in my spiritual life? Did I set an example for them? I wonder. Something I truly think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
The edits and book covers for the Lives Trilogy and Prequel are progressing. I redid and/or tweaked Taking Lives, Stolen Lives, and Shattered Lives, and I will begin the redo and edits on Splintered Lives this week. I am thankful to BRW for their continued belief in me and in my writing. I will keep you posted as to when they might be available for purchase on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble.
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