for Hal Upchurch, 1918-2008
Be they wise men or foolish, tycoons, dukes, or earls,
paupers or preachers or thieves,
most fathers are worshipped by their little girls,
and in childhood, each daughter believes
that the man she looks up to can do nothing wrong.
She relies on what children should know:
that Daddies are patient and kind, brave and strong …
But, alas, it is not always so.
All too often a little girl’s dreams turn to dust
and her innocent faith starts to crumble
when he’s proven unworthy of absolute trust
and she sees her dad falter and stumble.
But though legions of heroes have fallen, and lined
the long pathway in lonely rejection,
in all of my actions I hope you will find
assurance that you’re the exception.
If you lay down and quit you would not be denied
a reprieve for a much-deserved rest.
I would bring you a pillow and sit by your side,
even then I would not love you less.
But I know you’ll go on and continue the race
’til your life has completed its course,
upholding the standard of courage and grace,
firmly mounted upon your white horse.
You’re a pillar of strength for your children and wife —
God forbid we should take you for granted.
I have known I was loved every day of my life;
In my heart lies the truth that you planted.
Your unselfishness springs from a bottomless well
for the family you’ve nurtured and fed
and, if we couldn’t speak, countless others could tell
how they’ve warmed in the light that you shed.
When reviewing the blessings I’m thankful are mine,
as so often I’m privileged to do,
from the group photograph, among faces that shine
in the foreground’s the image of you.
For your health and contentment I offer a prayer
with my love and a hope that is fervent,
until God calls you home and He welcomes you there
with a loving, “Well done, faithful servant.”
Mary Boren, 1991