Anything is Possible!

With Faith, Hope and Perseverance


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For My Father

 

When I was in my twenties

searching for myself,

I did not understand

the man you were,

how you suffered and fought

and how deeply you loved

my mother,

my sisters,

and me.

As I got older, you got older.

And now that you are gone,

I am in awe

of the integrity of your life.

And now, as I pray for my daughter,

in her twenties,

searching for herself,

I wonder if this is how

you prayed for me

and if somehow, some day

my strength,

my faith,

will rub off on her

as yours has on me.

 

Dad in raincoat at rehab (2)

The Strongest Man I’ve Ever Known, 1931-2017

 

 


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A Pacifist Honors a Soldier

Song Lyric Sunday

At first, I was going to skip Song Lyric Sunday this week. I had mixed feelings about the theme: Songs about the military. You see, for many years, I’ve been a pacifist. I love peace songs. I’m a card carrying member of Grandmothers for Peace.

My dad, sometime in the 50s?

Still, I want to honor my father. He was a marine for 20 years. He was a good man. A loving man. A devout Christian. He was tormented about what he experienced in Korea and Vietnam. Haunted. He had terrible nightmares about those wars. He was also the strongest and bravest man I’ve ever known. He told me that, “Nothing is impossible.” My father served his country well, both in the military and afterward, up until his death this past January.

fox hole and preg mom

So, for today’s military theme, I’m sharing the Marine Corps Hymn. I remember my daddy singing it when I was a little girl. I will always be proud of him.

The last few lines are kind of funny.

From the Halls of Montezuma
To the Shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country’s battles
In the air, on land and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
of United States Marine.

Our flag’s unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in ev’ry clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far-off Northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job–
The United States Marines.

Here’s health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve
In many a strife we’ve fought for life
And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.

Here’s the the song:


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Love Letters From My Father

Dad with Baby mk and me (2)

 That’s me on the right, just in case you couldn’t tell.

After my father died, I found letters he’d written to me over the years and saved, like a journal, hidden in the old cabinet he used as an end table next to his recliner. I’m still processing the content of these letters. One of them is about why he didn’t come to my rescue when I wanted to come home from the college in the mountains.

This excerpt from my work in progress explains:

On my second day in Boone, before classes started, my roommate and I went to a pub not far from campus. I recognized Chris, a super brainy girl from my high school who’d already been at the college for a year. She waved to me and invited us to sit with her. My roommate saw some people she knew and went to sit with them. Chris made me feel welcome, and I started to feel comfortable with her. Maybe the beer helped. She asked me how I was doing.

“Well, I’m a little nervous,” I admitted.

“That’s normal. It’ll get better.”

“And I miss my boyfriend. I’m actually thinking of going back home.”

Chris looked thoughtful. “You know, you’ve got your whole life to go to college,” she said. “If you want to go home, it’s okay. It’s your decision.”

I was surprised by her response. I’d expected her to encourage me to stay. If this brainiac said it was okay to go home, then who was I to fight it any longer?

I called my parents and said I wanted to come home. Having just driven seven hours each way to bring me there a couple of days earlier, Dad refused to come get me. He didn’t say much, leading me to guess he was disgusted or at least disappointed.

Being stubborn, I managed to find another way home, but that’s another part of the story.

Fast forward to 43 years later when I read my Dad’s secret letters last week. One his letters revealed that the reason they didn’t come get me was because their old station wagon had a blow out on their trip home and left him “without a spare.” He wrote in Jan 2011: “Money was very short and, we had very little in the bank, and almost nothing on hand. I would have to have gotten permission from work…We also thought about what you were giving up….I have to admit my love for you was and still is a factor. After we made our decision not to come up, we went to bed, but I don’t think either one of us slept that night. The decision bothered us for years and we talked about it for even more years, even after you were married….I still felt guilty.”

I had no idea that money was a problem back then! I figured it was all about not wanting to bail me out when I should have stayed. I thought it was just because he was mad at me. I’ve carried that shame for years. And all this time, HE felt guilty for not coming to get me. I knew my parents loved me, but I didn’t know how much until I read these letters full of love.

Ive always wanted my father to be proud of me, even when I resented him. Even when I didn’t like his conservative beliefs. Even when I avoided him. I still, deep down, wanted him to be proud of me.

And what I’m finding out from his secret love letters is that he was.

love letters from dad (2)

Some things are worth waiting for. For a chance to win a free, signed copy of When God Says Wait, sign up for my monthly newsletter before March 21st by clicking the box on the side bar to the right, or just click here: http://eepurl.com/ch52KT


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Love Prevails

blue rescue  (2)

Art by JoAnne Silvia

Angel armies guard the grieving

weeping for their sons and daughters.

How long do we wait for love to prevail?

For thirteen years he prayed

For his father to accept him

and not despise the way he loves.

He reached past the harsh words

and called again on Father’s Day.

Perhaps the prayers had made their way

Into  his father’s heart

or maybe Orlando’s anguish

released the simple question,

“How’s your fella doin?”

Melting the wall of sadness and

Confessing a father’s love

While there’s still time.

To read about Orlando’s angels who guard mourners from protesters, click below:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/06/19/482698337/angels-from-orlandos-theater-community-guard-mourners-from-protesters


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Family History: Secrets and Light

socs-badge

We’re in Connecticut this weekend for two events. We come here every June for my mother-in-law’s birthday. She’s 80, and looks about 70. She’s doing great!

I liked her when my husband and I dated in 10th grade, and I like her now. She is gracious and has a lovely laugh. She always reminded me of Sophia Loren. I’ll see if I can find a photo for you…..

Carol Silvia

My mother-in-law in 1967

The other reason we’re here, this year, is for my father-in-law’s memorial service. My husband’s family graciously waited to schedule that when we would be here anyway for his mom’s birthday. My husband’s relationship with his father was strained. There’s not a lot of information about his father’s family. My father-in-law’s father died when he was very young. The rest of the family history is a mystery. That’s too bad.

I believe getting more information about family history can help us understand why our parents act the way they do.

We have lots of family history on my mother-in-law’s parents, Malcolm and Edna. I know that after my mother in law got divorced, her father used to bring her a bag full of change every week to help her get by. I never met them, but feel as if I know them from the stories my husband tells me.

I love to listen to my father talk about his family, growing up in Wisconsin, and sometimes about his twenty years in the Corps. My mother’s family tree is more mysterious. I never knew my maternal grandfather and heard he worked in the circus and then owned grocery stores in Washington, DC before I was born. There are secrets on that side of the family. Like there are secrets on my husband’s father’s side of the family.

Growing up, I always thought my mother was weak. I wish I had more information on her history, because I believe she lived through challenges I know nothing about. I do know she grew up during the depression and would never throw away food. In restaurants, she’d wrap leftovers in a napkin and put it in her purse. I don’t know if they had “doggie bags” back then when I was a kid.

After my mother died, talking with my father about Vietnam, which he rarely talks about, I asked him how he got through that horrible time and the nightmares after he came home.

“It was your mother’s love,” he told me. Your mother got me through it.

This new information surprised me. The love of the woman I thought of as weak was strong enough to save the strongest man I’ve ever know.

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday Post was “information.” If you’d like to join in the fun, visit:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/06/05/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-615/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” or “Begin with the word ‘The’.”

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments, for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. Have fun!