Two days after dad went to meet his heavenly Father in May of 2010, my brother, his girlfriend and I started the process of going through his minimal belongings. Mom and dad had downsized greatly in the moves from a home to an apartment to assisted living, which left them with a few pieces of furniture, their clothes and one or two treasures they held close. Dad had a three-drawer dresser that held a variety of items: Pajamas, T-shirts, towels, his pacemaker call box, a wallet filled with cash, and his beloved stash of gummy bears and licorice. In digging through the middle drawer, past the gummy bears, I found this…
A wooden box. I had never seen this wooden box before. I wondered what was inside and three seconds later, it was open.
I stared at it for half a minute and then a smile placed itself on my heart. Dad had kept a collection of rosaries, a St. Christopher medal, and a blue plastic coin purse that obviously came from years of affiliation with the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal service organization. Of all his personal possessions, I had a feeling this meant the most to him.
Dad was Catholic. My brother and I were baptized in the church as babies and spent our formative years living through Latin masses and driving for miles on a Sunday, while on vacation, to find the nearest Catholic church. Mom and dad (and the kids) never missed church…because you could not miss church unless you were half dead with illness or lost on the back roads of northern Wisconsin.
I didn’t understand the fuss of church as a child. As an adult, though, I understood the strength of dad’s faith in that box.
That box contained his treasured beads, his commitment to faith and love of his God.
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