Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate my dad as a wonderful example of husband and father – patient, loving, compassionate, and hardworking.
While I was growing up with my two older brothers, it wasn’t always easy to get time with my dad, who was busy helping my brothers earn Boy Scout merit badges and was involved in church and community work. But when they left home to begin lives of their own, I found more time to enjoy the talents my dad expressed.
As a teenager he’d lost his arms in a train accident, and, feeling he had much to prove to himself as an adult, he plunged into the business world and worked to help those with disabilities adapt to a normal work environment. He was also a loving husband and father. Patiently he learned to equalize his abilities with those of other men. He mowed the lawn by attaching the prosthesis to the handle of the mower. He found ways to maneuver screwdrivers and paintbrushes in his mouth, ever so patiently, to maintain his home as other dads did. And every morning he’d serve my mother a cup of coffee, opening the bedroom door with his foot and gingerly placing the cup on the table next to her side of the bed. He always gave gratitude to God for these achievements, which seemed humbling for him and so great to each of us.
As I look back on this unique household, I realize now that my dad’s biggest achievement was teaching me the meaning of love – not only as it comes from father to child, but as it comes from God, generously expressed through each of us as His children.
“God is love,” the Bible tells us, “and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him”
(I John 4:16). As God is love, and we are each the reflection of God, we naturally express His love. This divine source pours out unconditional love to each of us. It is universal, not merely outlined by one or two acts of kindness but generously and benevolently inclusive of every moment.
My dad passed away during a time I thought I needed him most. I was living with my parents while I was going through a divorce, and my daughter was only 6 months old. It was devastating. Over the months that followed, I prayed for a deeper understanding of love – not just what it meant, but how to find it.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, once wrote: “Man and the universe coexist with God in Science, and they reflect God and nothing else. In divine Science, divine Love includes and reflects all that really is, all personality and individuality. St. Paul beautifully enunciates this fundamental fact of Deity as the ‘Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all’ ” (“Message to The Mother Church for 1900,” pp. 4-5).
That same year, I met a man who later became my husband. Although his love has been shared with me very differently, its essence is the same. It is mutually reflected, respected, and cherished. It includes with it feelings of safety and wisdom, joy and abundance. It is both unconditional and forgiving. Now I understand that the source of love my father shared with us was always God, and that this love had never changed, even when the faces and surrounding scenery had. The love and joy that come my way are each, in and of themselves, more examples of God as Love – and as loving.
As circumstances change from time to time, and the faces around me change along with them, I continue to cherish the divine fact that God is always the source of love. His love is never limited, never fades, but is an ever-present comfort wherever life leads me.