Morning Thoughts: Glory Be To The Father

berthe-morisot-eugene-manet-and-his-daughter-in-the-garden-1883

Berthe Morisot, “Eugene Manet and His Daughter in the Garden”, 1883


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“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Matthew 19:14


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I spent most of the day with my two-year-old daughter. I intended to work on a piece concerning the Garden of Eden. Well, “most of the day” turned into most of the evening, my wife needing to attend a wake for the father of an old friend. So instead I share an innocent blessing.

I have had the privilege to spend a great amount of time the last two years witnessing my child’s growth. One beautiful result is a strong attachment that is quite reciprocal. One practical consequence is many long goodbyes. Francesca can get quite upset to see me leave. I do what I can at the door to be consoling. Ensuring her that I’ll be back, engaging in a series of hugs and kisses, allowing her to flick the light switch on and off a few dozen times—and then, before the hopefully peaceful handoff to my wife, I anoint her little forehead with the Sign of the Cross and quietly say a prayer.

One particular morning a few months back I was running late, and when it came time to leave, Francesca had a particularly tough time letting go. After the regular routine, she continued to cry and cling to my neck. I managed to pry her off and get her to stand on her own, but all the while she continued to point at my head. I confess I was losing composure. I was about to just close the door, though it kills me to leave without feeling that I have ensured her peace. I tried once more to explain that I’d be back. She continued to jump up and down and point toward my brow. I realized that she was identifying the large freckle on my forehead. You need to understand that to Francesca all freckles are “booboos.”

I pacified her by bending over so that her forefinger could touch the dark spot. That didn’t do it. Booboos need to be kissed. So now with little patience, I patronizingly knelt on the foyer side of the door. And Francesca pressed her lips to my forehead. I remained on my knees, feeling the awesome weight of humility.

Here I was concerned about blessing my child, about being the spiritual caretaker, the father in both body and spirit—and yet it is Francesca who blesses me, who anoints my forehead and consecrates my day.

I descended the stairs feeling incredibly foolish, walking out into the world with a renewed awareness of just how little I control.

My daughter and I have the same father.

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“Forgive me Lord, for not being as good a father to her as You are to me. Thank You Lord, for trusting me with such a tremendous responsibility. Praise You Lord, for all the beauty that resides within this precious child. May I serve You Lord, by fulfilling Your will for her as made manifest through me.”

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—Howard Hain

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1 Comment

Filed under art, Religion, spirituality

One response to “Morning Thoughts: Glory Be To The Father

  1. jim

    My spiritual life is like a House, as scripture says ” may you be built up like living stones into a holy priesthood ” or “do you not know you are the temple of God…
    the prophets and evangelists compare our spiritual life to the building up of a house. we need a firm foundation of Faith, Hope, Love and forgiveness.
    If our spiritual house is to be strong we must continually work on the foundation and repair leaks and problems ( Reconciliation helps here)
    If our spiritual house is to be strong we need to make adjustments to
    the daily realities of our lives, and the interruptions that occur.God is here.
    So if we want our house to be a Holy House we walk thru the house
    and see what God calls us to work on today. Maybe it is near the front door of our house, are we hospitable to others, do we listen to them or brush them off because we are busy. Is our house a friendly place to visit, or is it filled with anger and resentment or fear….ask for healing today.
    Go into the bedroom of your house….Are we getting enough sleep, are
    we nervous at night or peaceful? Do we say a short prayer before sleep.
    At night do we put our problems in God’s hands and LET GO, and
    LET SLEEP COME….. we can learn much by visiting the different rooms of our spiritual house….. and it may become more and more a temple of God.

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