Shared 3/15/19, 11am
Wake Memorial Park
Thank you Pastor Dial for being with us today.
From the first service we attended in the fall of 1996, Dad fell in love with you and with Cary Church of God.
The music was fire …
but it was missing a certain percussion sound … a certain … rakatakakataka …
This is a day about Dad.
It’s also a day about all of us and our relationships with Dad.
I’d like everyone to close their eyes for a moment, and see if you can recall the moment you met Dad.
I’m guessing for many of you there was laughter and joy involved in that moment … you probably recalled his smile.
Grandpa, Grandma thank you for giving Dad your blessing to marry Mom …
Mom, thank you for giving Dad a chance and having an open heart (no pun intended … (come on, this wouldn’t be right without a few Dad puns!).
Michael, thank you for welcoming Dad … I love you.
Tom, you met Dad on my 2nd birthday party, under some pretty incredible circumstances
Marielle … it wasn’t the first time, but pretty close, when we had just started dating and Dad asked you what the chances are that we would have a kid with blue eyes …
I’ve been reflecting on this question quite a bit this week.
When did I meet Dad?
I now have the picture taken July 9th 1981 a few minutes after I was born and Dad was holding me for the first time, smiling as wide as can be.
You might say that was the moment I met Dad.
Of course, I wasn’t always as docile and obedient to Dad as I was in that moment.
I was a kid with a pretty strong will … I had things to say … power struggles to embark on …
I have vivid memories of acting up at family gatherings … (punching Thomas or just being a punk … ) Inevitably, Dad would pull me to the side and counsel me.
Nearly every time, he would laugh … and he would say “You’re just like me … you’re just like me …”
The first time he had that realization must have been pretty powerful … in some sense, we met each other again in those moments.
We grew up in suburban (rural) New York in very charmed and fortunate circumstances. I felt like the luckiest kid in America … everyone would want what we had …
As a kid, I thought our comfort was a function of a pretty normal progression and life that my parents had lived.
Dad sat Tom and I down in the mid 90’s and told us his story.
I could feel Mom’s anxiety as he shared.
That tattoos started to make more sense … the fact that I hadn’t met Dad’s Dad made more sense … his love of God made more sense …
I won’t say it was a major milestone moment at the time. I think we processed maybe 25% of the magnitude …
But as Dad shared his story, we met again for the first time.
On May 12th, 2015 I “met" the most perfect little baby, Danica Sol. As I held her for the first time, I wasn’t thinking about Dad. But I was meeting him again for the first time.
A few days later, I held Dad on the balcony of our apartment in Jersey City and told him: "I feel like I know you so much better.”
Danica is almost 4 and she’s becoming brilliantly rebellious. Beautifully impossible.
I observe her behavior. I pull her aside and I look into her eyes. In those moments she must be thinking that she’s disappointing me. The reality is that our connection couldn’t be stronger than in those moments.
And I promise you it’s clear as day, I see myself in her. And in those moments I realize what Dad felt, looking into my eyes in Goshen or Montgomery or Mt Vernon or Pine Bush. And in those moments, I meet Dad again for the first time.
Over the past few months, Dad entered a new phase of his life.
In the process of dying, I truly believe he was connecting with us in a very different way. I feel incredible gratitude for the opportunities I had to thank him. To thank his heart (the unsung hero, by the way). And to thank his hands.
We won’t be able to process and understand all of this right now or even very soon.
But to me, that’s the beauty of it.
Inevitably, I will go through this same journey.
When I do, I believe I’ll meet Dad again for the first time. I’ll understand more of his experience over the past few months. I will lean on his strength in this time, and I know that I won’t be alone in this natural and necessary experience.
Dad, I love you. I know we’re not done meeting …
I’ve already met you again as I go through your press clippings and your notes. I am so proud of what an incredible writer you were.
As we all know, Dad never met a surface he couldn’t turn into a drum. In wrapping up, I’d like everyone to find a surface … could be your chair, could be the wall … and make a joyful beat for Dad.
Dad, You Did Great. You Did Great.
I Got Your Back, Always.
I Love You.
And I can’t wait to continue meeting you.
Here and beyond.