Be a father to him . . !

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SOMETIMES we wonder as we see our loved ones in pain, why good people go through suffering. I remember my feelings many years ago, when I heard my dad in the US was diagnosed with cancer: “Dads cancer,” said my mom’s voice on the phone, “has reached the bone. He’s in pain!”

“Dear God,” I prayed, “don’t do this to a man who hardly caused pain to others. A man who taught me to be brave in the face of adversity. To laugh when troubles assailed me, and yet to cry with others in sadness.”

I remembered days when even as a father with immense knowledge, he sat with me and listened to my half baked theories, not laughing them away, but shaking his head and sometimes agreeing and sometimes discussing, but allowing me to grow as a thinker, and not a parrot vomiting out tested formulas. “Dear God,” I whispered, “just put your strong arm around him and let him feel your strength. Let him put his head against that omnipotent muscle, and feel his pain disappear, just as he in my days of childhood held me tight when cuts and bruises and later emotional hurts racked my body and my soul.

“Let him not feel the pain, dear God,” I cried, “shield him, just as he shielded his family from the onslaughts of the outside world. When cruelty and harshness, injustice and fear were stopped at the threshold and not allowed to enter, so that we inside were nurtured in gentleness and love.”

“Let your heavenly friendship envelop him oh God, just as he became more friend than father as the years went by. Two friends who walked in the cold impersonal streets of a foreign shore, watched the pigeons at Rockefeller Center and the waters of the Hudson.

Friends who respected each other for what they were and a friend who did not try to forge me in his mould, but let me blossom into my own form.” “Dear God!” I shout, “why do good men have to suffer so? Why can’t you pick the cruel, the ruthless, the tyrants of the world, why pick a man for whom wonder was childlike, and for whom gentleness was a way of life? Why God, why?” I asked in despair.

I felt an arm around my shoulder. It was his, my father’s. I sobbed, unashamed, and then I felt his hand, wiping away my tears. I leaned against his arms, and slowly felt a peace. Somewhere far away, I knew my Dad had felt my pain…..he felt not his own….. “Dear God,” I had whispered that day, “be a Father to him, just as he is still a father to me!” May this prayer be yours whose loved ones are going through pain or sickness right now..!