My little family of four went out to dinner tonight to celebrate the six-month anniversary of our first introduction to each other. While we were waiting to be seated, I saw a man who could have been my dad’s twin. The resemblance took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. I smiled at him and then quickly looked away, unwilling to cry and worry my girls on a night when we were celebrating joy. But after I got over the shock, I searched him out in the crowd of waiting people and watched him.
I see my resemblance to my dad whenever I look in a mirror. The night my dad died, Brian covered the mirrors in our bathroom and bedroom at my request and they remained covered for a few days. To see elements of him reflected in my own face was painful at first. I have since found comfort in our physical similarities. To see elements of his face on a stranger was also painful at first. But I quickly found gratitude within my heart for the surprise of almost being able to see him again. I glanced back quickly for one last peek as we were being led to our table and walked away feeling happier for having seen the stranger who looked like my dad.
Papa was not one to wallow in misery too often. He was resilient. He struggled with bouncing back later in his life, but my childhood memories reveal a man who couldn’t bother to be stopped for too long by any setback or discouragement. This ability was not always a gift. But more often than not, I think, his ability to rebound off of the obstacles life threw up in his path served him well. He was a man who knew how to find silver linings. It was a skill he passed on to me.
Yesterday I wrote about how my heart still cracks with grief sometimes. Today I want to focus on how my cracked heart still beats. I am gifted with an extravagantly joyful life filled with cherished relationships, abundant resources, and challenging adventures. Beauty delights me in surprising ways every single day. Whether it is a witty comeback from one of my daughters, the smile on my husband’s face when he first sees me in the morning, the gorgeous transformation an ice storm brings to a backyard, or seeing my dad again, for a moment, in the face of stranger, I am confronted by silver linings, ordinary goodness, and trifles worth relishing every single day.