many years ago, in one of the darkest hours of my life, i was asked to complete a questionaire for a counseling center. i had gone there to seek help, because the weight of an abusive ex intent on unleashing the full fury of the american legal system,and the needs of my four children seemed more than i could bear.
the questionaire consisted of the beginning fragments of sentences, which i then had to complete. the one i remember began: "my father...." i wrote "loves me" with no hesitation.
the counselor was very kind, very helpful. i remember at some point she said to me, "you're going to be okay, you know."
and i looked at her and said, how can you know that? i dont feel that way at all.
and she pointed to that sentence. "my father loves me you wrote." and she smiled. "not one person in a hundred comes in here and finishes that sentence that way. you have something that not many do, something that supports you, not only around you, but within you. we just have to help you know that for yourself."
i call it one of my bedrock moments, a moment when i connect to one of the deepest underpinnings of my soul. the great gift that my father gave me had nothing to do with money or things or education. it came in the long dark nights when he, natural nightowl, was assigned the task of comforting the screaming, fussy, ever-so-sensitive baby that was me. it came in the hours he spent digging sand pits so big my brother and i could build sand castles in them, in the afternoons spent spinning the stories he made up, in the saturday morning pancakes topped with sugar and butter, never syrup. it came in the games he played with us, in the blocks he built, in the messes he helped us make. it comes in the delight with which he talks to me, in the way, he - still - calls me princess.
i doubt my father even now realizes that as he walked me through the long dark nights of my infancy, he was sowing the seeds of the strength that would carry me through the long dark nights of my soul.
and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.