Saturday, June 20, 2015

Fathers' Day -- Shifting The Sun

Fathers’ Day raises a wide range of emotions and reflections for me, giving me a rollercoaster ride of thoughts.  This poem helps me sort all of that out, and make some sense out of being a son of a number of men who were dads to me.

Today, I was a dad to a young man in prison.  We were out in the garden, admiring his gazebo he had built.  It is his first experience with wood, hammers, nails, and drills.  He has struggled with its design and construction, but has accepted the help of others, and has applied his own talents, and his own eye for beauty and simplicity.

His gazebo is a work of art, and his very own creation. It looks good, and fits well with the rest of the garden.

I expressed to him my thoughts on its stability, its beauty.  He tried to put himself and his creativity down, but I kept at him, praising him and his talents.  He told me he wanted his dad to be happy with it and tell him he liked it, but he was afraid of letting his dad know what he had built.

I saw that familiar fear of rejection, that sense of “I am not good enough” in his face.

I became his dad for a few precious moments, letting him hear words of praise and adulation fill his ears. I let him know he was a good man, a man of talent and ability.

He smiled, and shook my hand.  And, perhaps, in all of those few minutes, there was a feeling that he was, indeed, a man of worth, a man of value and talent.  And, there was a dad in his life who thought he was worth something after all.

Shifting the Sun
When your father dies, say the Irish,
you lose your umbrella against bad weather.
May his sun be your light, say the Armenians.
When your father dies, say the Welsh,
you sink a foot deeper into the earth.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.
When your father dies, say the Canadians,
you run out of excuses.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.
When your father dies, say the French,
you become your own father.
May you stand up in his light, say the Armenians.
When you father dies, say the Indians,
he comes back as the thunder.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.
When your father dies, say the Russians,
he takes your childhood with him.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.
When your father dies, say the English,
you join his club you vowed you wouldn’t.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.
When your father dies, say the Armenians,
your sun shifts forever.
And you walk in his light.

~ Diana Der-Hovanessian ~

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