My father's birthday would have been today. Our first one without him. Still learning to deal
with the loss. Especially, hard with each passing occasion. I well remember past birthdays. He
always seemed to wind up with more t-shirts and socks than he really needed. He never let on
though. Always with a smile and a kind word he accepted the gifts. Even the time my brother
gave him a belt he tanned and stamped himself in shop. Boy, that was an ugly belt. But he wore
it anyways. If he didn't like it, we were none the wiser. I guess it comes with the territory.
Accepting gifts that anyone else would throw away afterwards but wearing that silly item or
even displaying it. For example, a cup or a piece of pottery made in Vacation Bible School that
would scare most potters. Not naming names who made that piece of artwork. Smile.
Father's are amazing like that. Even on their birthdays thinking of others first. His birthday is so
close to Valentine's Day it makes this even more difficult for mom. A double whammy so to
speak of two special days at once.
My siblings and I reminiscence about his birthday but to my mother this is the loneliest of both these
Valentine day is really enshrouded with God at the heart of it in it's true history. Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. The good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270. All for refusing to deny Christ before the "Emperor Claudius". Before his head was cut off, this Valentine restored sight and hearing to the daughter of his jailer. He loved God and believed in love and marriage so much he risked it all. Paying the ultimate price.
Ephesians 5:25 says, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.." My mother loved him to the end of his life. Dad loved her and God with his last breath. God loved them both through it all with the promise to see each other again. May God wipe away all their tears...
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