We thank Allison Gingras and Elizabeth Riordan for inviting Catholic bloggers to re-post their favorite articles on "Worth Revisiting” Wednesdays.
Do yourself a favor- go there now (and every Wednesday) and treat yourself to an unending buffet of spiritual treasures.
Be sure to visit Allison at Reconciled To You and Elizabeth at Theology Is A Verb during the rest of the week. You will find much encouragement there.
Here is my contribution:
[The following personal reflection is one of twenty in my book, Fleeting Glimpses of the Silly, Sentimental and Sublime, all of which are intended to bring you laughter at a time you feel forlorn, comfort when you are overburdened with the challenges of daily living, tears of joy when certain words you read or images they generate resurrect thoughts of those you loved and lost, greater appreciation for the gift of life, zeal for the salvation of your soul, and an increased desire to give to God and those He created what He and they deserve.]
The stately white columns of the reception hall’s entrance stood out all the more because of the faded and weather beaten brick that surrounded it. The colorful rainbow of flowers that greeted its guests took their breath away. The slight summer breeze rustled everyone’s hair as one by one family, friends and strangers passed through the massive iron doors.
Dad needed to rest. Even this short walk from the car presented a great challenge to lungs weakened by cancer. But he was determined not to let those destructive cells ruin this special day for his granddaughter. Amidst the internal agony unseen by those passing by, he stood tall and resolute, thankful to be there – a man who hours earlier nearly coughed himself to death. Amidst all these challenges, one could still detect that ever present but now fading twinkle in his blue Irish eyes.
As the bride and groom prepared to joyfully float into the reception area as only newlyweds can do, the comforting loved filled voice of a beloved granddaughter called out to my Dad: “This is for you Grandpa. We love you!” Seconds later the unmistakable sounds of an Irish bagpiper filled the room. Dad gluttonously and gleefully took in the precious sounds and relished the Gaelic green kilt worn by this skillful musician. O to be Irish and alive!
Dad was a humble, hard-working, loving man who sacrificed his education to help his Depression-era parents, a well-paying job instead of compromising his beliefs, and his own preferences in order to support a wife and seven children. He did so joyfully and without complaint.
Not one to have his picture taken, it took some cajoling from his granddaughter for Dad to pose for one on this most special occasion. How regal and majestic this simple man appeared, his hair (what was left of it) so meticulously combed, defiantly standing upright and proud in his white dinner jacket, unwilling to concede defeat to the cancerous army attacking him from within. I don’t think Dad knew what a gift he was giving us that day.
It wasn’t many weeks after this celebration that Dad’s internal enemies got the best of him. He fought to the end, living long enough to hold another granddaughter’s child, and his first great grandchild, in his then toothpick thin arms. As he gazed at God’s newest creation, I am sure he was reliving the moments when he had held his own children, as well as the tortuous time he buried two of them.
Pictures are worth a thousand words, but no one photograph can tell the whole story.
Oh, to see again the twinkle in this Irishman’s eyes! May he and all the souls of the faithfully departed rest in peace!