1963 was the seminal summer of my life, as I became aware of what Love and Family meant, when my floor of family fell beneath me. To your house, I came scarred and bruised, yet every aunt and uncle patiently collected the remnants of my life in a broken bone bag, and sewed me back together. As strong as my mother was, you, each and all, lifted us with grace and charity, that we could rise again. I will never forget.
I am the child of every father that ever was; I am the guardian of every child to come.
Father’s Day is the warmest day in June for many people, and I appreciate that you are, or were, loved by a father, or stepfather, or uncle. There are folks that struggle on this day; hopefully, most had mothers, stepmothers, and aunts that took up the task and did double duty. Love them on this day as well.
One day, I will write it all out; the father that was mine, the father that was my hero, the father that dreamed, the father that asked big questions in an age when only faith was accepted as fact.
I remember vividly, at our Wilderness farm on the back porch, with the revivalist; the revivalist that bathed in the baptismal tank at the Wilderness Baptist Church. My Father was asking the big questions about religion and God, and the meaning, the remembrance of everyone that came before, but the revivalist had NO answers, and just wanted to drink my father's moonshine. THAT was the point when my father, my hero died inside. I was a child; I watched it, and remembered.
My father chose a long goodbye, a slow suicide, perhaps a lingering hope that answers would come, but there was no saving grace. Eighteen years later, he died on a Pennsylvania Avenue street corner, close to the White House, poisoned by a toluene moonshine. I didn’t see him the last ten years of his life, when he lived, homeless, on the streets of DC, and I never forgave him, until I became him, until I walked the dreamer's road. Life is a hard road; it is only by the grace of my wife and my girls that I am still here. They are the saving grace.
After all these battles,
all these victories and losses,
there is a saving grace, a love;
a canteen offered to a friend or a foe;
a sharing of the cool water of compassion,
a caring at the open door;
opening beyond words,
beyond our own world,
where we are the open door;
where we are the cool water;
where we are the saving grace.
Where we are.
You and I.
We are that.