Sunday, December 30, 2018

Holey, wholly, holy family

All of us, at a somewhat younger age.
I grew up in a house with six kids and a dog (and a seemingly immortal goldfish), watched over by two parents who imbued us all with an insatiable curiosity, a generous measure of grit and the notion that if you researched it, followed the directions, and practiced it, you could do pretty much anything.

From my dad, I learned to bake bread and rolls and to patch and paint walls like a pro. Our relationship survived learning to ride a bike and to drive a stick shift, and (barely) the time I left fumes in the tank of the car with the inoperable gas gauge. (I think of him every time I put the clutch in on my car or my gas gauge shows empty.) I can rig and sail a small boat and paddle a canoe. I'm not afraid of a screw driver or a power drill (but have a quite reasonable respect for table saws). We fought about politics, sometimes bitterly. He was willing to ask hard questions about God and the life to come. He sent my sons a book on backyard ballistics — don't ask.

There were times when there were holes in the family, times when we were wholly family, and occasions when we were well and truly holy family.

My dad died this morning, perhaps aptly on the this feast of the Holy Family. At home, as he wished, with my sister at his side reminding him of all those waiting for him. I was on a plane, on my way to California to see him.  Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. May perpetual light shine upon him. 

About that goldfish.  The goldfish was the sole survivor of a coterie won at a school fair. One morning my father found it on the floor, having somehow tried to leap out of the aquarium. It was still pretty lively, so he tossed it back into the tank. Where, other than some odd scales on its side where it had laid on the rug, it flourished for years to come.


  1. May he be bathed in eternal light, which of course, he can now further research. Peace to you and yours Michelle, so many prayers for your peace and his rest.

  2. I am so sorry for your and your family's loss, Michelle. What a lovely tribute! I believe that the world is diminished with your Dad missing from it. On this World Day of Peace, may you find comfort and peace in your memories of your Dad. "May the Lord bless you and keep you in perfect peace." (Numbers 6:26)

  3. May perpetual light shine upon him.