Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Where Has Pappy Gone?

A child filled with wonder sits on my knee,
she asks, "Where has he gone, where can my Pap be?"
I hug her and smile, knowing just what to say,
"It isn't the same, but he's not far away.
 Heaven's for real, and Pap's there now you see,
And someday we'll be with him, you and me."
Her eyes become drowsy; a smile on her face,
She says, "I bet that heaven's a really nice place."
I sit back content and knew I would start
planting seeds of God's love right there in her heart.
She drifts off to sleep, so precious to me,
I whisper a prayer, "God, let us be--
wrapped in your love and your care and your grace;
And let this little one in dreams see your face."
I sigh and remember my own father's love,
and know that he watches for us from above.
Yes, heaven must be so much more than we
would ever have imagined it to be.
God is so real and He loves you my friend,
This isn't over, it's not the end.
Just be like a child, and look for His grace
You'll find it in the simplest place.

My own eyes are closing, I'm drifting to sleep,
I want all these treasures to hold and to keep.
When just then I see my dear Daddy before me,
He's handsome, he's young, he's wrapped all in glory.
Yes, heaven's for real little child, a Voice speaks,
All the tears all the suffering aren't here for keeps.
You'll feel loved, warm and safe, you'll be wrapped in My arms,
With nothing to fear and protection from harm.
 Your earthly father is proof that I'm real,
All the good that he's done is something you'll feel.
So carry this gift back with you upon waking,
My perfect Love is a gift for the taking.

The little one stirs, and her eyes meet mine,
She says, "I want to visit with Pap one more time."
I kiss her small face and I ask, "Did you see him?"
She says "Yes, he's so happy, I thought it a dream."
But I know that God has given her a peek,
a glimpse of His love with a kiss on her cheek.
She's got her whole life ahead of her now,
For fun and adventure, so I must allow
her own little journey, her own little path,
To take time to giggle and take time to laugh.
The serious things will just have to wait,
I'm praying that her young life will be great.
And hoping that nothing will keep her apart
of the memories of Pappy and God's loving heart.

Karen Malena


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dancing With My Father

When I came home from work this evening I had the strong urge to play one of my father's CD's that I had gotten him for Christmas a few years ago and had now inherited due to his recent passing. I slipped "The Emperor Waltz" from its plastic holder and placed it into an old boom box type of player that I have. The first few notes of the classical piece played forth reaching the magnificent crescendos. I reached for Dad's picture from the many photos my husband and I have adorning our refrigerator; photos of all of our loved ones. In this particular one, my father is sitting next to me on our back porch on a lovely summer day from a few years ago. He is smiling sweetly while looking at me as I chatter away, my Italian hands flying from whatever it was that I talked so passionately about.

I held the picture in my hands as tears began to trickle from my eyes. The picture blurred, but I could see something else very clearly--I saw in my heart, my father young again. No longer the bent body, the aches and pains of his older years, my Dad stands handsome before me, black hair, twinkling green eyes and a smile--oh that smile. He beckons to me, reaching out his arms and we twirl together with the music of our favorite waltz. This was the dance we should have danced together at my wedding to Jim, but we dance now, giggling as our feet become tangled and we make up our own steps to the beautiful piece.

My father tells me he is well and that he has been with so many of his friends and loved ones who have gone before him. He asks about Mom, and wants her to know how much he loves her and how he will wait to welcome her home someday.

The music peaks and we twirl once again. I hadn't realized we could waltz so well. I want this moment to stretch on forever, but the music finally nears its ending. I open my eyes, still clutching the photograph of Dad to my heart. The magic is gone, the spell, broken. But I know each time I now hear that special music, the vision of my father and I dancing in the presence of God's beauty will warm me and bless me.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Start a kindness revolution

Wow, not another political commercial. Not another hate-filled rant of one candidate versus the other. It's been shoved down our throats for months now, and I, for one, am caught up in the anger that each of these tirades bring. I am not a political person. I was not brought up in a family where things were discussed around the dinner table that had to do with the government and politics. In our house it was which favorite movie line we could quote, which comic superhero was the best, what piece of music touched us the most, etc, etc.

This is why I think we need to take a step back and bring back positive virtues, good talk, compliments, and kindness. Because after listening to poison, I think we all tend to spew words out in the same fashion. Let's be the change. Start a kindness revolution in our own homes. Let's push back the dark and make way for the light.

Easier said than done? Turn off the television. Revel in the quiet. Or play a favorite piece of music, and better still, let it be classical thunder or a favorite movie soundtrack. Let it permeate your being and see how it makes you feel. Stop reading negative articles and newspapers. Fill your mind with what is good and lovely as the Bible suggests. Read the Bible.

I find this very thing in our home sometimes. My husband has to deal with a ton of ignorance at his job. Then when he comes home, he puts the t.v. on, and watches the news. He asks me all the time how he can get rid of his negativity and anger. I tell him that we need to be the light, the candle in the dark. Keep our own doorstep clean. All the old adages come to mind, but I can see that they worked for past generations. We need to simplify, de-clutter our minds, and become the goodness that we so desperately long for. A kindness revolution.

I found myself grumpy and mean a few months back. Because so much was going on in my own life, I began to take it out on my co-workers and loved ones. I'd forgotten my own words of advice and became caught up in ways that should have been foreign to me. When it was pointed out, I sought God's help immediately. I asked His forgiveness and strength. I began pushing the darkness away and embraced the light. The kindness revolution had begun in my little world.

During my father's recent illness, hospital stay, and passing, I found that I treated everyone kindly and respectfully. Even in our darkest moments, my words bespoke something good, something light to everyone I encountered. It would have done no good to "take out" on others, the turmoil I'd been feeling inside. And I can't tell you just how much it came back to me. Especially when we lost Dad. There was so much given back to us. So many people filled with love and goodness toward my family.

Yes friends, the kindness revolution works. It's real and true. And it comes back to you tenfold. Be the light. Get rid of bad thoughts, words and deeds. Keep on pushing back the dark.

I love the words in this song by Christian artist Josh Wilson.

One million reasons why, you shouldn't even try.
After all you're just one heart, a single candle in the dark.
And there are shadows here, feeding on your fears,
That you don't have what it takes - who are you to make a change?
But oh, oh, don't underestimate the God you follow.
Whatever you do, just don't look back.
Oh somebody needs the light you have.
Whatever you do, just don't lose heart.
Keep on pushing back the dark,
Keep on pushing back the dark.