It’s Father’s Day, so I’m inclined to think about my father. He was an amazing man. This was not just my opinion, but everyone who met him felt this way, from assembly line workers in one of his plants to fellow board members on one of the many boards he served on, to his college-age Sunday School students, to adult students, to those seeking his help, to family, friends, and neighbors. No one forgot him. He entered your life like he’d known you forever. He simply loved people. It didn’t matter who you were, he cared about you. He went deep into your consciousness. If you were lonely, he wrapped his arms around you; if you were sad, he had the perfect joke; if you needed a serious confidant, he listened; if you were hurting, he healed. He could do no less than give you his all.
Though born dead and laid on the floor by the attending doctor at the home-birth, he surprised everyone by suddenly wailing when his aunt, a new Christian Scientist, entered the room declaring “No! That child is not dead! God is his life! God is his Life!“
And God was his life. Just before he passed at 87, he was still declaring God to be Life, Love, Truth, Spirit, the Principle behind all that is. He did not see life as mortal existence, but as an infinite spiritual, ever-present, relationship with God. For him, man made in God’s image and likeness could only be spiritual, not material. He worked to see everyone and every situation in this light–a huge part of which included studying and following the teachings and example of Christ Jesus. Loving, which led to healing, was uppermost in Dad’s thought and acts. He solved business problems, physical illness, relationships, everything, by turning to God, Love,–the only Healer–for direction.
As his daughter, I was privileged to observe many healings, both physical and otherwise. When visiting my parents, I knew time with Dad would be limited because of his work. One time he got a call from someone needing help, so I left the room to give him privacy, but as I closed the door, I could hear Dad’s strong, uplifting words to the caller. Later, Mom told me Dad had 30 calls for help that day. Dad told me he never picked up the phone without first knowing that the caller was in God’s loving care, that God was with him or her, even before he listened to their need.
There was a time when I left the religion my father adored. That was hard for him to understand. I had to learn for myself what God is, to try on the wide array of religions, to question, study, and decipher what is truth. After more than a decade of such pursuit and practice, what did I learn? Though extremely grateful for all I gained from exploring a variety of religions, including a profound seminary experience that continues to enrich my understanding today, I returned to the religion of my father. Why? Because Christ Jesus healed. Healing demonstrates Christ’s teachings, proves God’s love for his children. I discovered that no religion held healing as a primary tenet except Christian Science–my dad’s religion. So today I aim to practice this gift my father shared with me and so many others, and to grow in understanding the Father of us all. And so, too, this Father’s Day I am thankful for both my father and our Father.
Artwork: That Old Barn That Used To Be, watercolor, approx. 36″ x 30″ framed, a gift for my son. This barn that used to be is no longer with us, but its integrity, strength, beauty, memory outlasts its mortality. My son appreciated this lovely old barn located near his home and sent me a photo of it recently. I knew I had to paint it, in sepia, the flavor of its era. Right now, the painting is at my framer’s and when it is done it will be my gift to my son.