Keeping Step

My daddy walked along
so fast and steady in his step,
while I skipped along
like a butterfly
just trying to keep step.

He went on walks for healing,
for you see, he nearly died.
I went on walks to be with him
and to see the clear, blue sky.

We walked along and talked along,
he tried to lead the way,
while I broke out with little dances
and delighted in the day.

Daddy’s feet were fifty five,
while mine were only seven,
but we both enjoyed the walk
each day,
it seemed a lot like heaven.

As our feet have carried us
through thirty years since then,
I have aged and so has he,
but I’m still trying
to keep in step with him.

D. Elaine Wood-Lane
7/30/99

My dad, L.D. Wood, about whom this poem was written, died on November 24, 2006. Although he is gone now, I still try to keep in step with him. He was a good man, a faithful man, and a wonderful father. He taught me about life, both the joys and hardships. He taught me how to maintain a car, do well on job interviews, get a boy to notice me, and how to approach emergencies and crises. He taught me how to stand courageously through tough times and how to laugh through tears. He even taught me how to farm cotton and how to treat animals, our earth and other people with respect and consideration. Most importantly, Dad taught me about Jesus and God, not only with the bible and the talks we had about them, but also by his quiet manner of serving others and his generosity of spirit. His footsteps through life followed Jesus’ steps I finally realized. When I was trying to keep step with Dad, I was also following Jesus’ steps. Even though Daddy isn’t here any longer for walks, he didn’t leave me alone. He left me with someone I can walk with forever…Jesus.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there today. I pray your influence on your children is as great and good as Daddy’s was on me.

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How Well We Know the Ones We Love

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About a week ago I bought a little app for jigsaw puzzles. The neat thing about it is that you can use your own photos to make any puzzle you want. You can make them as complicated (550 pieces) or as simple (42 pieces) as you want.

I started out with some of the puzzles the app offered and then started on some art work I had saved before moving on to family photos like this one. Of the five people in this photo, only two of us remain on this earth, my sister Judy on the far left and myself on the far right. The other three people, from the left, are Mother, Daddy, and my oldest sister Betty.

I have to admit, it felt a little odd putting this particular puzzle together. I thought, “piece of cake, right?” I know these people. I’ve looked at this picture many times.

I started with the edges as is my usual habit. Then I started the middle. I came to a point where I had a woman’s mouth. Was it Betty’s? Was it Mother’s…or even mine? I looked closer at the tiny piece on the screen and suddenly knew, without a doubt, it was Mother. Tears sprang to my eyes as I remembered the last time I heard her speak and breathe, moments before she passed away in my arms. Hers was the first voice I ever heard, the voice who could yell me home a block away, and the voice I remembered singing hymns in church. Those lips kissed away booboos and heartbreaks.

Next came a set of twinkly, mischievous blue eyes. Well! Those could belong to any of us, but that particular twinkle was all Betty when she laughed. We were all happy in this moment. It was Daddy and Mother’s 65th wedding anniversary and Daddy was joking and teasing as only he could. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but we all laughed just as the camera snapped our picture.

What’s my point? It is this. Even when those we love pass to heaven before us, we still love them, still know them well, and they are and always will be part of us. We may not be able to ring them up on the phone or feel their loving arms around us, but they are just as much with us as our beating hearts within us.

Close your eyes and picture your spouse’s eyes, your father’s hands, or hear your children’s screams of laughter. That’s how well we know the ones we love and it’s forever.