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Dear Father, by Kim Karl

On Father’s Day, it’s important to note that there are many different types of fathers… this letter definitely conveys that, in multiple ways.

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Dear Father,

I took a vacation from the church. The vacation lasted for years. I could sleep in and I never worried about Sunday Mass. That changed three years ago. I joined your church and began to be active in the community. I will admit, I went kicking and screaming, but my wonderful husband gently persisted and led by an example that I never realized was there.

You see, my boys, they need to grow up knowing God. They need to understand that there is something bigger and better than them in this world. They need to understand so much and even though I believe, I do not have the experience, knowledge, or openness to share my faith as completely as you do.

You have helped me in that sharing. I have always considered my faith private and rarely discussed it with anyone. I now answer endless streams of questions and listen to the stories of the Saints that my Kindergartener has eagerly learned.

You were a brand new pastor when we joined your church. I had some doubts about the direction that this parish was headed. This church had gravitated away from the traditional music and solemnity. My husband was worried about the children that were processing in waving ribbons. You see, we came from a church that had girls dancing down the aisle waving scarves on Easter Sunday one year. That was the last mass we ever attended there.

I kept faith and you reaffirmed it with the way that you tie your actions in with your homilies and your everyday communications. You said that the community is strong because of the children and when it is time to celebrate then we should and need to celebrate.

We made a decision to send our children to your Catholic school. Both my husband and I attended Catholic schools and felt that we received excellent educations. We were looking for “a complete Catholic education.” We have found it. Unfortunately, it took a tragedy to completely convince us.

We received a recorded phone call from you at 10:30 one night. As soon as you said “Dear families,” I knew something was wrong. I listened for the next minute and a half as you explained that my six-year-old’s teacher had died. Your words were eloquent and spoken with a heavy, faithful, heart.

I was awake for the next four hours pondering how I was going to tell my son the news. I wish I had recorded your beautiful words.

I awoke early the next morning in order to gather myself before waking my son. I used your words to break the news to him. He cried, hard. He said that he would be sad forever.

I attended the all school prayer service that morning. I needed to go for him, to make sure he was okay. Like any six-year-old, he was fine. Your words were beautiful and a comfort to the entire school.

The other parents were just as moved as I was. You were able to convey that death is never the end. You also gave everyone comfort with your stories of the love and compassion of this wonderful woman. She did love the children. It was so transparently obvious in all she did.

When my son got home that afternoon, he excitedly told us how you were seated in his classroom when the children entered that morning. He was laughing because you were acting like a student by raising your hand and asking questions of the principal. You conveyed your message by being one of them.

Over the next week we heard stories about you. You were there for the kids to lead them spiritually. You reaffirmed what we believe and are trying to teach our children about life, death, and God.

The all school memorial mass was again beautiful and, well, uplifting. We were all in tears and happy and sad at the same time. Thank you for asking for our participation. It was important to us to be able to sit with our son and the other students.

You told the family that the book that the children had put together was not complete. You said that it will never be complete because of the life that she led and students and people that she touched. You said that her life is not over; it had just begun. I cannot convey how much the students, parents, and family needed to hear your conviction. It is a fact and you made sure that everyone there believed it.

It was a blessing to see his teacher’s family there. Her mother and sister visited the classroom afterwards and shared stories about her to her children.

My son will always be connected to his Kindergarten teacher and may always be sad that he lost her but you have led him spiritually to the understanding of God’s greater plan and of heaven.

I don’t know how this would have been handled in a public school. I do know that the only way that we were able to get through this was through spirituality and faith.

I now know that God puts people where they need to be, when they need to be in places for a reason.

Thank you for keeping the communication open.

Thank you for being able to discuss the sadness in such a positive and loving way.

Thank you for putting life, death, and God all into a religious perspective.

Thank you for being there for the children.

Just Thank You.

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2 Responses to “Dear Father, by Kim Karl”

  1. What a touching story about a beautiful man! It made me smile and tear up all at the same time.

  2. Angel says:

    Beautiful letter. I hope he reads it and understands what he means to all of you.

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