My father had his faith tested earlier this year. It was painfully in front of all of us to witness and try to determine how, and IF, we could even help. One of my sisters managed the appointments and meds. We were all continually checking in at the house. I visited at night and took him to Mass on the weekends.
A friend at work had asked how he was doing. She’d met my Dad only briefly the year prior. They got along famously for those few short minutes. He is a religious man and she is a Christian life coach. I never witnessed such an immediate bond. I’d also never talked to her about spirituality until the day she inquired about my father. I told her he wasn’t good at all and to please pray for him. I let her know how helpless we all were. She told me to pray for wisdom.
I never knew that was an option. So I did. I also tried to read parts of the book of Wisdom that night.
That Saturday, my father and I went to 4:00 Mass again.
The readings included Matthew 14:22-36. It stayed with me and I wished my father had his faith at the time he needed it the most.
The next day I went to his house and gave him one of my toy boats. I told him, “Ralph, just get out of the boat.”
That was all. I knew it wasn’t a quick fix but it seemed like a needed visual.
That boat has been on his kitchen table for months. If he wasn’t focused on it, I certainly was every time I visited.
Only a short time ago, my Dad started to seem like himself again. He was less anxious. He stopped dwelling on the past and worrying about the present. The family started saying it out loud – “Dad is going to be okay.” My father was talking about the future again. Reading. Writing. Engaging. It was a long road for him and I was glad he’d finally turned onto a new path.
I went to the house to pick him up for Mass again this weekend. My father had a package for me to open. I didn’t know why he was giving me something or what to expect. When I opened the lid, I understood. It was his note of confirmation – and the boat.
When I saw it, the water was tears down my face.
It HAD helped. My father IS saved – and I AM a believer.