be present…

Today begins  a series based on

yesterday’s post entitled

be…

The adorable couple above are my parents.

I know!

Aren’t I the blessed one?!

I have been Bill and Felicia’s daughter for 47 years.

My parents are a finely tuned team.

They are fueled on love, faithfulness, humor and faith.

Oh how I love them.

I mention the  fact of their teamwork because

although the story I will share today features my dad,

I believe he could not be fully “Bill” without  Felicia

spurring him forward and in turn he encourages  her right back.

There is a never-ending story that my brother Bill and I love to recall

during family gatherings.

During our childhood, our mother would send my father and the two

of us to the store to retrieve items that were needed.

Most often, only an item or two was in demand.

My brother and I would think to ourselves, this will be a quick trip.

We were wrong.

My dad is quite friendly (understatement) and our community small.

We could barely cast a shadow over the threshold of any store without

conversations erupting.

My brother Billy and I would wait patiently for those

chats to end so we could bring home the ketchup and start dipping the

french fries.

But in reality, a 15 minute trip could take more than an hour.

One particular time, the three of us were walking down an aisle and my father

gasped and said,

“You know what I’m going to do?”

Before he could give an answer,we were interrupted by

a fellow shopper.

One conversation ended and then another one took its place.

We checked out and there was more visitation over the cash register.

All the while, Billy and I were  frantic wondering what exciting

news our father was about to reveal.

We made our way to the car and Billy and I asked in unison,

“What Dad? What are you going to do?”

We were nearly hyperventilating with anticipation.

My dad looked at us and said with his unmistakable laugh,

“You know, I have no idea.”

We kept asking and repeating his words  and he could

not remember.

To this day, he has zero recollection of what caused him to

swallow air and muse aloud.

We will never know if he ever did what he was going to do 🙂

We can laugh at it now.

But we really didn’t enjoy those supermarket trips.

Perhaps they made us miss The Brady Bunch or we weren’t really

interested in what adults were talking about in the condiment aisle.

I didn’t understand then but I learned later that my Dad was being present.

Not too many years ago, I spent a weekend alone with my parents.

From beginning to end I had encounters  with people who loved my parents.

It seemed wherever we went that weekend, people were waiting as usual to

talk to my father but they also wanted to talk to me.

In fact, they couldn’t contain themselves.

As the adult I welcomed it, the way the child had wanted to push it away.

I heard story after to story of my dad being present in the lives of others.

Stories that made me cry.

Stories that made my heart pound.

Stories that extended  far beyond grocery aisles and landed in the depths of many lives.

Years ago, I looked at those marathon trips to the store as a bit tortuous…

now I see them as markers edging an open highway.

Generosity with our time is an exquisite offering.

Find someone today or let them find you.

Give them your unencumbered  attention.

Be present.

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