Imagine my surprise today when I walked into my office, opened the envelope on top of my in-box, and spotted my dad’s unmistakable writing on the letter inside. He’s been dead for nearly 6 years. How could I be getting a letter from him six years after we buried him?
It turns out the editor of The Messenger (a publication of the church denomination I grew up with), who has known my dad for alot of years, thought I might appreciate the letter dad had sent him 9 years ago. He couldn’t have been more right.
In his later life, my dad became something of a writer (I come by it honestly, as do other members of my family) and had a few articles and letters to the editor published. He didn’t write alot, but what he did write carried alot of weight. He was a thinking man. I remember many times when he’d come in from long hours on the fields or in the barn, he’d sit down at the kitchen table, and he’d ask a deep and thoughtful question that he had been pondering all day. Sometimes (all too seldom, if you ask me), those thoughts would make their way onto paper.
For many years, Dad had had a particular fascination with sheep. His interest stemmed from years of studying the many references to sheep in the Bible. (Look for them sometime – there are lots of them.) He wanted to know what it was really like to be a sheep following his shepherd. The letter I received today was the basis of an article about why he’d chosen to own sheep on the farm.
I’m not sure why the letter showed up today, but I think there’s probably a reason. I’ve re-read the letter a few times and will continue to read it. Dad was a man of few words – when he spoke, you knew it was important to listen. Today, for some reason, I think I’m meant to listen.
This post started out being just about my dad, but now I need to write about my daughter too. As I was writing this, Julie walked up with a poem she’d just written. When I read it, I got a little teary eyed thinking about how proud Dad would have been of his thinking granddaughter. With her permission, here’s her poem:
I lie awake and wonder
What is there I cannot see?
I lay awake and ponder
This lack of knowledge scaring me.
I have not felt the touch
Of searing pain
Or seen the stars
like falling rain
I never can be quite sure
Even of the things I know
Should I stop and smell the roses
Or is it time to go?
I have not felt true horror
I know perhaps I will
I lay awake and wonder
My head with thoughts I fill
We’ve just finished decorating Julie’s room, and the first picture she’s hanging up is one of her on a horse that her Grandpa is leading around the pasture.