My Gift, My Daddy
~S. E. Hickman
I watch the daylight fade, the night clouds gather;
the trailing edges of the sun tinting your face.
I trace the latest worry lines now revealed
and I wonder…when did those appear?
Memories of you flicker and dance in my head –
my face pressed to your chest in the old rocker,
picking our way through caves and creeks at Cloudland,
the grief in your eyes the day your Momma died
and a thousand of your smiles.
Though we had to weather inhospitable places,
you reseeded barren ground with countless blessings
and held me up again and again, leading us to safety,
as we waited out the floods and plucked out the briars.
How the sweetness of you fills my pockets
when I consider how much I try to be like you:
to be patient and kind, tender of heart and slow to anger,
and to always be as forgiving of myself as I am of others.
But your greatest gift, your crowning achievement,
is that powerful image of a father so tenderly reflecting
what I believe must be the heart of God.
It’s a heart that says despite our failings,
despite our weaknesses and all our humanity,
the face of love shines triumphant through all you’ve given –
rescuing me again and again from the darkness and the gray.
Your eyes shutter now; your body destined to fail,
moving you to a place where I can no longer follow.
In this fading, taking light – know I will stand guard;
for my beacon in the darkness, my oasis in the storm –
You will victoriously shine on.