Sunday, June 20, 2010

My father became a child on Father's Day / Loved and Forgiven / Salish Sea


Here is a prayer written by my father a few days before Father's Day in 2002, exactly nine months before his death on St. Patrick's Day:

You are above all of creation.

In it You have created all universes and everything in them.

In it You have created millions of stars and planets, far apart.

In it You have created the greatest physical force in our Universe, the magnificent sun.

In it You have created the planet for us all to live on, the Earth.

In it we have You, the sun, oceans, mountains, caves, rivers, lakes, rain, snowflakes, waterfalls, forests, land, air waves we cannot see, every living creature and the most powerful force of all, Love.

Thank you my Almighty God for everything on our planet, Earth.

I ask You, my Almighty God, to forgive me for any harm I have done.

I ask You, my Almighty God, to forgive anyone who harmed me, whether I knew it or not.

You are above all human beings that You have created.

No one on Earth can be compared to You, my Almighty God.


My father signed his prayer with his childhood name, Carl William, and gave a copy to his brother and sisters, all of his nieces and nephews and to me and my sisters. He was named after his mother's father, Carl Lien.

A story he told me (or was this a story my mother told me?) is that when he joined the Navy, he discovered that his birth certificate gave his name as "Boy," and it turned out that his parents had not come to an agreement on a name for him at his birth. His mother wanted to call him Carl William, and his father wanted to call him William Carl. Until he was in high school, he was called "Carl." When he was in high school in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during the Depression, he decided that he didn't want to be just one of many Norwegian boys named Carl and began calling himself "Bill."

My father titled his prayer "My Daily Prayer to My Almighty God."

On the day after my father died, I walked alone on a beach in West Seattle and looked out at the relatively calm expanse of salt water, which suddenly appeared to me to be much like my father. I could only see its surface from my place on the shore. I knew nothing of its depths and neither did anyone else.

"... the most powerful force of all, Love." (Carl William, June 17, 2002)


Dale said...


The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, in some people those depths can never be plumbed.

A moving prayer from your father on Father's Day.

bev said...

A prayer that says much about love, and about respect for the earth.
It is good to have your father's writing to look upon. You can continue to learn about him in that way. Lately I've been thinking about how much can be passed to others through our writings and other creations. I'm sorry that my husband wasn't more of a writer. He was such a deep and thoughtful person, but never wrote anything down. Still, there is much that we can mine from our memories, isn't there?

am said...

Dale -- Thank you for continuing to stop by (-:

Solitary Walker -- I gather, from things what you've written about your father, that your father was something like my father in nature.

Bev -- That my father wrote down a prayer in his last year was a great surprise to all. He wasn't one who wrote things down.

I agree that there is much to be mined from memories. Don's deep and thoughtful presence lives on in your loving words.

Anil P said...

Like someone once said "Still waters run deep".

The prayer your father wrote is very moving, deep with understanding, and respectful, all of which can only come from a lifetime lived with concern for fellow human beings and for one's surroundings.

A touching tribute.

am said...

Anil P. -- I will try to find the wooden toy from China that my father was given as a boy, so that I can photograph it and put it on my blog. I also have his slides from Varanasi. Will have to get them out and look through them again. Thank you for visiting my blog!