Thursday, April 24, 2014

Deeply Imprinted

Deeply Imprinted
(for Dad on his 65th birthday)

When a son becomes a father
He can’t but look to his own
Father, his own raising, to know
What to do, how to be, why
It all matters, and where to start.
And so have I, and so do I,
And there, in you, I find
Treasured memories of example,
Of work, of respect, of duty,
Of love, the blessing from which
All things flow, and so
In times of doubt or fear,
Of indecision, I can look back
In my memory and see a path,
Not perfect, nor smooth, nor straight,
But worn with footprints of feet
To follow, pressed deeply marked clear
For the burden is heavy to bear,
But each print is a testament
That it has been walked before,
And as my feet follow, now,
And in the future, going forward,
My steps, the fact I take them,
Also shows the path’s promise
Is secure, and not forsaken,
Nor taken, alone, on my own.
Instead, a cloud of fathers and sons
Are present in the relationship
Of we two, and so my Dad,
The love you gave, I cannot
Just give back to you, I do,
But though I do, the real gift,
The real lesson and proof
Of love is the father I am,
The man and teacher I am,
As a reflection of the father,
You are, and as we walk the path,
Of fathers and sons and daughters,
Now together, as two fathers,
I’m glad to carry my burden,
Take my turn, walk those prints
With your arm around me still,
For our steps continue together,
And will forever, Amen.
                                 ~ Rev. Peter T. Atkinson