My Father’s Blessing

When I toddled into the kitchen one Saturday morning,
my father was eating breakfast.
I stared at him, rubbing my eyes in astonishment.
“You comed back!” I exclaimed.
He opened his arms and I ran to him,
not quite believing he was real
until his arms closed around me
and he nuzzled my face with his stubbly cheek,
ten thousand tiny whiskers prickling my skin.
Dad was a student minister then,
and I saw him only on weekends.
He spent the week in Denver, studying theology,
then on Friday night he rode the bus back home
to our lonely outpost somewhere in Kansas.
His absence was like the absence of God:
“He’s there, but you just can’t see him,”
my father explained.
When he was older and wiser,
my father shocked me by saying,
“I don’t need to defend God;
God can take care of himself.”
He put his Bible on the bookshelf
and started preaching from The Denver Post.
One day he raged that another convicted murderer
had been executed in a neighboring state’s electric chair.
He ended his sermon on Sunday with a question:
“Would Jesus Christ pull the switch?”
Of all my father’s sermons,
I remember only this fragment,
and I hold on to it fiercely,
the way I once held the blessed bread
of Holy Communion, so I wouldn’t drop it,
or the way my young father held me
when he came home on weekends,
nuzzling my face with his stubbly cheek,
ten thousand tiny whiskers prickling my skin.

© 2016 by Magical Mystical Teacher

Posted on August 24, 2016, in Midweek Motif, poetry, Poets United and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Lovely poem… He’s there, but you just can’t see him… such a great line in this context.

  2. My new favorite of yours: You touched my heart with that one clue to the universe, the one thing we can hold to. How wonderful that it came from such a father!

  3. Beautiful poem. A great tribute to your father.

  4. I can visualize him and the speaker. I felt to be on the spot as it were, with goosebumps all over. “this fragment” seems to be the bread of life…

  5. You touched me with your words, MMT. Such a beautiful and powerful tribute, a sermon in itself. God bless you 🙂

  6. Such an inspirational write… and a beautiful tribute! ❤️

  7. fine blessed moment here. Very sweet!

  8. The change of form ushers a complex and superbly written piece Magical – those whiskers in the beginning welcome at the end I felt they were more like electric shocks..but I could be wrong..I love the play on father’s blessing and how that can be ambiguous perhaps (my father was the electric chair side of and my sister used to say ‘our father who art in devon’ as we ran for safer shores… Except foolish j came back..electricity can be like that perhaps)

  9. A very fine tribute.

  10. Oh my goodness, but this is wonderful to read and envision…..what a wonderful father. I love the tiny whiskers prickling your skin…..LOVE his question about would Jesus pull the switch.. How is it we so misinterpret “Thou shall not kill” when it is so clear and simple? I loved every line of this, Karin. Thank you.

  11. Sorry – not Karin…..magical mystical teacher. Sigh. Long day.

  12. What a beautiful poem of love and belief Maggie. How important it is for parents to teachers as well.

  13. A lovely poem about your father. I liked your shocked reaction to ” I do not need to defend God etc. ” Mine was ,when my mother told me priests are human and commit sins. I was shocked. I passed on this information to a girl called Amber at school . She said I would get expelled if the nuns found out what I had said, so I was blackmailed into giving her my afternoon tea cake for almost an entire year until I was blessed by Divine intervention…she suddenly left the school. I can still remember the feeling of relief:)

  14. Very touching.
    I should have known that you were a PK. 🙂

  15. Oh, what a wonderful poem, and reminiscence!

  16. [“You comed back!” I exclaimed.]
    Luv the innocence in these words. And the way you resonate shock is just so clever. Surprise, electric chair, whiskers.
    Like this piece a lot

    much love…

  17. This is pretty great.

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