Rejoice: A Prayer of Thanks for Dad
Here are pictures of one of Dad’s bowties and a banner that says “Rejoice.” I know that rejoice is a prayer but I’d like to think that bowties can be too.
First, the banner. It’s from the 1983 Rose Parade, the one my father led when he was president of the volunteer organization that puts on the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. He picked the theme that year and “Rejoice” was very much who he was. Rejoice in all things. Rejoice at all times. Make “rejoice” your daily prayer.
After his funeral we hung that banner up in the hall where we celebrated his wonderful life. Sure, there were tears, but also cause for much rejoicing. All those people his life had touched, hundreds of them at the church, the place was so packed they had to set up rows of folding chairs. There were people from all parts of his life—classmates from high school, the lady from the dry cleaner’s, an old buddy from the submarine he served on during World War II. We rejoiced.
The bowties came from his closet. We found 50 of them. All the men in the family put them on for the service (Carol helped me tie mine) and we gave away all the rest. “What a gentleman your father was” people kept saying to me, talking about his humility, his kindness, his generosity. None of us will become my dad. None of us can fill those shoes. But we can wear some of his best qualities. Like bowties.
I wore that bowtie as a prayer of thanks. Thanks, God, for giving me a great dad.
A stranger on the subway and a pack of tissues made all the difference.
Our anxieties don’t make us faster or more efficient. They simply make us more anxious.