A poem for lost fathers: Raising My Voice

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Today the world is short one more amazing father, husband, friend, and follower of Christ.  Brett Cannon was an incredible man and it’s so tragic to see his life ended too soon.  Tonight my prayers go out to his wife and children.  They carry a heavy weight.  This poem was originally written for another amazing father, husband, friend, and disciple–Raja Nweiser; whose story reminded me so much of losing my own father.  Today this poem is dedicated to Brett’s family, and to all of those who are grieving a father ripped away to soon.  I’m raising my voice for you.

(Note: baba is the Arabic word for daddy.)

Raising My Voice

I’ve been here before –
nearly twenty years ago
I stood beside the wooden box which held a man
who had only seen forty-one winter chills
only forty-one spring thaws
only known a few years in his children’s lives
I stood looking down at his strangely tinted face,
held his cold fingers with my warm ones
my mind unable to comprehend what this meant
we stood in a line—from toddler to eleven year old
and said goodbye to our “baba.”

I’ve been here before –
but with someone else
this time the movie plays through my mind,
a continuous loop
of you laughing and smiling
joking as we climbed to Herod’s palace
telling me of your beautiful girls as we drove through the desert
narrating stories as we wandered through the siiq to Petra’s great Treasury
encouraging me  as we hiked up to the Monastary—
(never letting me give up despite all my protests
without you I would never have known the view from that mountain’s peak)
caring for every detail when I fell like a clumsy child
and each memory that washes over me brings a fresh wave of sorrow.

I’ve been here before –
but this time I see things with my grown-up eyes
I see the world without you, and it seems empty somehow
where once stood a loving shepherd, now stands a grieving flock
where once was a respected mentor, now sit confused students
where once was the love of a father and husband, now is the heartbreak of a wife and her children
and my grown-up eyes weep
for the dreams you’ll never fulfill
the potential that lies unreached
the friend that I have lost
the wife whose love was torn away
the children whose baba will never again tuck them in at night

I’ve been here before –
and so I offer up my prayers
For all those who have lost their pastor, mentor, colleague, friend, loved one
For the days when you feel overwhelmed with sorrow
For the nights when sleep is chased away by memories
For the moments when grief chokes back your breath
I stand beside you
and I raise my voice
to the One whose comfort will carry us through

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