Well. It seems that having written this week’s Catholic Photo Challenge (thanks Steve Nelson, for in fact, guilting me into this on the air during Catholic Weekend), I’m going to be grateful that he pressed me into service.
I’ve been a little blocked lately, partly because my dad was very ill and then passed away a couple of weeks ago, but mostly because I let myself use that as an excuse.
For not writing. For not wanting to do anything creative.
It would have required that I look at the situation straight on because it was inevitable that I write about my father’s impending death. But who wants to face the page with that kind of raw emotion? Not I.
If I didn’t write about it, perhaps it wouldn’t happen. So I didn’t.
Because sometimes, still, I am four years old.
So back to The Challenge: Steve whined about how hard it is to come up with a topic, so I teased him about being lazy and randomly picked a number from the Catechism of the Catholic Church to be the theme of the challenge:
322 Christ invites us to filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father (cf. Mt 6:26-34), and St. Peter the apostle repeats: “Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you” (I Pt 5:7; cf. Ps 55:23).”
And then, perhaps too quickly, I sent off the text, focusing on the second part — to cast my anxieties on God.
But I didn’t give Steve the challenge word, so he picked the first part, filial trust.
The total trust of a child in her father’s arms. The kind of trust that is given freely, innocently, sure of the father’s benevolence and protection.
Here I am at four years old with my father:
Once you get past the black socks and the Bermuda shorts, note the camera hanging around my dad’s neck. And me, also hanging around his neck. I knew he’d keep me safe on that dock, and together we were going to explore the world.
It is through this first relationship that I can understand our Heavenly Father’s love.
Here I am again, this time with my brother and sister, and I’m definitely not four years old:
That was our last Father’s Day together, a time of bittersweet celebration as the man who had once held me up high off the ground in the safety of his arms now needed me to steady him.
Instead of a camera, he gripped a rosary.
He prayed the rosary fervently, but it was actually another devotion, to the Divine Mercy, that taught me volumes:
The total trust of a child in his Father’s arms. The kind of trust that is given freely, innocently, sure of the Father’s benevolence and protection.