When I was a teenager, I resented my father for being harsh and domineering. Years of forgiveness and my own experience as a father have certainly helped to change that perspective. He passed away seven years ago.
Recently, I felt my own anger and harshness come up again in a situation regarding youth behavior. So there is an old bone that comes out to be chewed upon from time to time. The only reason it comes up, once again, is to forgive, once again.
Duty and obligation often seem to be driven by fear and burden. Still, forgiveness is a letting go that allows love to be remembered.
Underneath the duty and the fear, there is still love – big and glowing more than ever before. So I offer this piece in love of my father. It’s also for all fathers with the upcoming Father’s Day.
Duty called on him… often.
And he answered.
At 15, he had many more duties than years.
7 younger siblings,
1 mother… no more father,
1 struggling farm… with many debts.
Duty called to work the drilling rigs… a tough man.
Duty called to save the farm and family… a tender man.
All holding on, through one Great Depression.
No more school.
No more youth.
At 27, Duty called to serve his country.
He was familiar with Duty’s harsh orders… a tough man.
Duty serves as Duty does,
With stripes for commanding others too.
Soon, the enemy was beaten.
The world was beaten too.
Duty rested while Freedom tried again.
One Wife… many children,
And farms going nowhere.
Duty called again.
Construction crews to boss.
All tough men… with tender intentions.
For him, 8 kids to feed.
Always generous and fair,
With little he had to share.
Laughter left that marriage.
With all children launched,
They had finished their Duty.
Maybe Duty kept them together,
But with children gone… they parted.
He was nearly done all duties.
Curious, I asked him
“Do you believe in life after this?”
Pragmatic, he answered
“I don’t know, but I’ll find out!”
So, Dad, I trust that you found out.
Now, thanks to you,
Tough duties are few.
Still we share,
One tender duty,
In this: We care.
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