Have you cleaned your closet lately?
Moving is tedious.
It is back breaking work.
I never expected it to bring me joy.
But yesterday it did.
You know how you always think, when you say you clean your closet, you reach clear back in the corners? Yeah, well usually, I give it a few swipes, but if there is an errant shoe or boot that I seldom wear, I don’t get in a snit if I can’t reach it. I leave it there.
But moving cleaning means you have to take it all out. So, yesterday, armed with my 40th Hershey Kiss, I tackled my closets and I found a hidden treasure in a little gold box I had kept as a girl. I knew it instantly and hoped I would find what I knew it to always contain…It did.
It was a letter from my father, written when I was about 13 years old. With a sharp intake of air, I recognized his handwriting. His cursive was always in blips and swirls. It had been folded for a while and seemed so fragile, but I carefully deciphered each word.
He had attended a Men’s Retreat for our Church and he had written a letter to each of his children and delivered them when he came home. Who does things like this anymore? Introspective searching in this mindful respite reminded him about the man he was and wanted to improve upon. His main goal was to be a supportive role model to his kids. This was one of most important things in his life.
My eyes were stinging when I read that he loved me very much, and then added “maybe too much.” He wanted all good things in life for me. He hoped I would be a twinkling light to others. His ending was simply: “Be Happy.”
As I carefully replaced the worn pages (there were 2) I felt buoyed up by love and overcome with sadness. This man was more than the amazing model. He was a constant when life got crazy. He would tell me to go to the movie if I felt stressed by studying. He was the first to call when the tire was flat, a window was broken, or advice was warranted. Now, I have to be the adult as he once was for me. I longed yesterday, to talk to him just one more time…but you know how that goes when they are gone. You swallow that big lump in your throat and continue on.
I urge you all, especially fathers, to write your children a letter. Put down into words what they mean to you. Be that model that comes from a loving place. Leave the legacy of love.
Because I have to be honest, if I would have found a million dollars, it would not have meant more.
My dad’s physical presence is no longer with me, but I talk to him all the time and I feel that the inspiration I get, sometimes, well it can only come from him. I am basking in the words he wrote over 50 years ago.
Thanks for that legacy dad.