The love of a father for his children

Friday, 7/10/15

The first reading today recounts the joy of Joseph upon being reunited with his father many years after his brothers had sold him into Egypt. Back then, they had left Israel believing that wild beasts had devoured his beloved Joseph. Our reading describes their joy at being reunited.

“As soon as Joseph saw him, he flung himself on his neck and wept a long time in his arms. And Israel said to Joseph, ‘At last I can die now that I have seen for myself that Joseph is still alive.’”  

It might put you in mind of your father’s love for you. It does that with me. My dad was only seven when his father’s death forced him to leave school and go to work. He went on to make up for his father's early departure by being a full-time dad for us.

Getting full use out of his three years of grade school, he wrote a greeting card verse for ever big event in the lives of his children and grandchildren. When he came to retirement in his eighties, he surprised us at his having kept a copy of every verse he had written about his kids and grandchildren. He went on, then, with carbon paper to make copies of 130 of his verses. Some are pretty punk, but most of them keep his love alive for us.

For the first birthday of my niece Laura, who is now sixty eight, he wrote: “You’ll grow tall and beautiful, and leave your dolls and toys; and you won’t be Daddy’s girl no more, once you’ve met the boys.”

Yesterday we had the funeral of my sister Prudy who died at ninety-three. With a verse he wrote at Christmas in 1937 he recalled Prue at thirteen, delightfully holding high the full length of each of her first nylons.

He wrote a kindly note to her in 1949 when she was dreading a third hot summer big with child. He spoke of how physically uncomfortable summer pregnancies were for his Kitty, and how financially uncomfortable they were for him. But, he assured Prue that with the way he and Kitty came to treasure their children, and the way Prudy and Vince would go on to treasure all of their children, they could all thank God for knowing what is best.

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