Tag Archives: fatherhood

Morning Thoughts: A Delicate Nose

by Howard Hain

.

In near darkness silhouettes take hold.

So delicate. Features so fragile.

How can such a perfect little nose exist in such a world?

A world of flying soccer balls.

My hardened features cringe at the thought.

Her delicate little nose and a direct encounter.

A soccer ball, an elbow, another child’s brow…my God, how could such beauty absorb any such kind of blow?

And yet it has, seven years and counting.

Time and again the playground gives what it’s got.

Close encounters and direct hits, this night that little nose as delicate as ever.

The chaos, the screams, the various forms of laughter…they too for the time being stand silent.

Before such a sight.

A simply beautiful child sleeps.

A father smiles.

Such beauty is surely painful.

Innocence is everything.

My Lord and my God.

Thank You.

A beautiful child sleeps.

A father wipes away a tear.


.

.

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


.

“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


.

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.

.


.

“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.”

.


.

—Howard Hain

.

Friday Thoughts: Innocence Itself

saint-joseph-and-child-jesus

.

A small, beautiful child.

What could be more innocent?

The tiny face of one born a few days before.

What could be more pure?

At what age does that stop?

When is it that we no longer see an innocent child, but instead, just one more man or woman walking the crowded streets?

If the child is our own, probably never.

Parenthood is a gift.

A gift beyond telling.

Yet every person we shall see this day was once a child.

Every person we shall see this day is still a child.

A small, beautiful child.

What could be more innocent?

The tiny face of one born a few days before.

———

Can you imagine what Saint Joseph felt?

What it was like to hold Jesus in the crook of his arm?

To present Innocence Itself to the world?

———

True humility has little to do with wanting to be humble.

It has nothing to do with wanting to look small, tiny, and somewhat sad.

True humility comes through grace.

The grace of knowing that no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you on your own cannot stop innocence from being slaughtered.

———

Somewhere, right now, the infant Jesus is being rejected.

Saint Joseph can hardly believe it:

Here He is. The Son of Man. Please don’t do anything, don’t say anything, don’t even think anything that offends His dignity.”

———

The next time we are tempted to judge anyone perhaps we should remember that.

Perhaps we should use our imagination, our faith, our hope, our love—all the gifts and talents that come from God, that return to God, but that God Himself lends us for the time being—to find a child.

For wasn’t that very person, the one who is about to be judged, once too only a few days old?

———

Think of Saint Joseph holding Innocence Itself.

Think of Saint Joseph humbly holding a tiny child, a tiny innocent child reaching out to all mankind with outstretched arms—so innocent that it’s hard to even imagine that all the world, that each and every one of us doesn’t immediately reach back with all our might to tenderly embrace this most precious gift—the most precious gift that a guilty world could receive.

Innocence Itself.


.

—Howard Hain

.