Father’s Day used to be a day when I honored and remembered my father. Then he passed away the day after Father’s Day in 2001 and it became a difficult holiday. Two years later, I was able to celebrate my husband being a father and the years of creating fun gifts for him from our daughter began. Since he passed away in 2015, it now is a holiday that just floats and I don’t know what to do with it. I still honor both in my memories and am thankful for the time I had with them. There are lots of other men that I know that show great examples of what it means to be a father and a man of God. Some of those I secretly adopt in my heart as a father figure and grandfather figure for my daughter. They may or may not know it, but that’s okay.
I ran across this poem from Maya Angelou, a woman of great writing and wisdom. It reminded me of those in my life who have passed on. They were a great tree, rooted in faith. Although their life is no longer growing with us, they have still made the impact in people’s lives and leave roots for us all to continue growing. As you read the poem, think about someone in your life who was that “great tree” and live your life in such a way that you can be that for someone else.
When Great Trees Fall
by Maya Angelou
When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down in tall grasses, and even elephants
lumber after safety.
When great trees fall in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die, the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly. Our eyes, briefly, see with a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines, gnaws on kind words unsaid,
promised walks never taken.
Great souls die and our reality, bound to them, takes leave of us.
Our souls, dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed and informed by their radiance, fall away.
We are not so much maddened as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold caves.
And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.