Tag Archives: father

To My Other Brother….

I’ve been thinking much lately about one who was in my life, was a big part of my life actually.  His name was Paul Boyd.  He has been gone now for almost 3 years and I miss him still.  Nowadays I can go for 2 weeks or more sometimes without thinking about him.  And then, there he is in my mind and heart as if he never left.  Any who truly knew him were indeed privileged.  He had requested that whenever his day came to take leave of this world that I speak a few words at his memorial service.  And I most certainly did so.  There is not much I wouldn’t have done for him.  Again, Paul has been on my mind a great deal lately.  So, please don’t think me odd or even self-serving for posting here the eulogy I wrote for my good friend.  I do this to honor his memory for he was one of a kind, as they say.  But I also do this to bring a renewed awareness to all of us that we need to honor those we love each day and while they are yet living.  Life catches us and throws us about, forever running and forever busy, doesn’t it?  And because it does so, we tend to forget the significance of “now” in our lives.  Now is the time to give that one a hug and a kiss to show them you care.  Now is the time to make that phone call to that friend or loved one and let them know that they are on your mind and in your heart.  And no, I did not say that four letter word text!  There is no substitute for sound of the human voice.  My point here is remember the importance of now!  Tomorrow is too late for it is not promised us.

Now, what follows here was my attempt to capsulize a life in just so many words.  As you read these lines, think of those you have loved that had to take leave of this world as well.  Honor them in heart and if you need to, with your tears.

Saturday, 12 December, 2009

Paul had requested that I say a few words at his memorial service.  Words are meant to describe and in this case, encapsulate a person’s life.  Many words immediately come to mind when I think of Paul Boyd.  Strong, grounded, intelligent, sensible, reflective, tenacious, outspoken and determined are but a few of them.  One word which was not in Paul’s vocabulary was complacency.  He was always trying to move forward in his life.  I am sure that God (or “The Boss” as he always referred to Him as) has His hands full right now.  Paul is probably giving him suggestions right now on how things could be improved up there.  Or down here, for that matter.

There are other words that reflect Paul’s character as well.  Kind, compassionate,loyal, caring, tender, supportive, loving, empathetic and sensitive.  All of these words and the feelings attached to them were a large part of Paul.  I did not know him as a kid, not really.  He was just “Uncle Paul” to me.  I knew that he had a bad accident as a child and had fought his way through cancer a couple of times.  He was what Life refers to as “a tough customer”.  I admired him for that.  But other than that, I didn’t know Paul.  Not the real Paul Boyd.

Many years ago, Life stepped in as it sometimes does and I was given the opportunity to know Paul.  I was living in Westland and was unable to renew my lease out there.  Paul heard about this and ahold of me which wasn’t easy since I had no telephone then.  He told me I was welcome to move into his home on Hickory Street in Detroit.  Now, if he was standing here right now, he would tell you that he was a bit apprehensive about making this offer since he didn’t know me either.  Not really.  I accepted and that is how the close relationship I had with Paul began.  He helped me grow as a person.  And conversely, I helped him grow in different areas of his own life.  But, I think I got the bigger blessing out of the deal.  At that point in my life, I had never come across a person, outside of my immediate family who was more encouraging and supportive with regards to my personal growth.  He would always tell me “Thompson-ay, I’m on your side, no matter what!”  Now, so many people say things like that.  But where Paul was concerned, it was the gospel truth.  When he said that, he meant it, end of story.

Paul, or “PB” as I called him and I (he called me “EA” most of the time) spent a lot of time together.  We would have a few beers and solve the world’s problems, and all in one night, if you can believe that.  Many times one of us would say something funny or so incredibly dumb and we would laugh until laughter became physically painful.  And then we would laugh some more, each one begging the other to stop.  Those were good time, good memories.  I miss my friend.

I also watched as Paul grew into being a father to Kunga, Sawah and Bird.  You know them as Joe, Sara and Keri.  Paul poured his love and tenderness into these kids.  It was really something to see and I got to see it firsthand over the years.  He did his best to give them a good life.  He laughed with them, encouraged them and worried over them.  He really took them inside, you know?  And I cannot tell you how many times over the last few years that he told me how proud he was if each one of them.

You may have noticed I’ve made no mention of a wheelchair in these memories.  This is because to me, these was none.  Paul did not allow the hand he’d been dealt in this life to define who he was.  After getting to know Paul, you simply didn’t see a person in a wheelchair. You just saw a guy who sat down a lot.  Maybe that sounds far-fetched but it is true.

Was Paul a perfect human being?  No, of course not.  None of us are perfect.  Did he have his short-comings, his imperfections?  Yes, he did as do we all.  But it is important to remember that it is our imperfections combined with our strengths that brings out the best in us, that makes us who we are.

I apologize for going on and on here.  It’s just that the air is thick with my memories of Paul, sort of like a gentle, heavy rain.  I see his smile in my mind.  I hear his laugh in my heart.  I see his face before me often and I hear his voice.  It’s as if he is not really gone.  He was and is so much a part of me, of who I am.  I miss him a lot.

In short, I have been blessed to have more than one brother in this life.  By bloodline and by birth, Paul was my uncle.  But by association and by choice, he was my good friend and my brother.  For that I am truly grateful.  I love Paul and miss him.  This is probably not how a eulogy is supposed to go.  I just wanted to be certain that people knew the Paul Boyd that I knew and cared about.  He was one of a kind and that is the truth.

This was for PB from EA….

To those who read this, thank you for I know it was long.  God’s blessings be upon you and yours.  Share the love you’ve been given always.

William J. Thompson, Jr.

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A Letter Towards Love

Dearest reader, my post this evening is of a different sort as you will see.  There are many out in our world who are alone and living in a quiet pain, a pain of the worst sort imaginable.  They are alone in their heart and alone in their Life.  And loneliness bares its cold soul in a number of ways.  One cannot truly know the empty pain of loneliness until one has been truly alone.  It is a thing I would wish upon no one for those afflicted become broken within.  I will tell you my friend, that I was hesitant to present this for the subject makes many uncomfortable.  But it is also important for we all know someone who is indeed alone.  I would implore you to reach out to hearts that are burdened so.  Please do!  What follows here is an attempt to show you one of the faces of this Life stealing disease. And there are many more, believe me.  I chose to describe this “face of loneliness” because for one to paint an accurate picture, one needs to be familiar with the colors being used.  I have lived this particular “face”, if you will.  I gave more than just a passing thought to writing this for it is a closed-door for me now.  There are always parts of our past we do not wish to recollect.  To do so can often cause one to relive certain things, yes?  This was not easily entreated by my heart, to be sure.  In the same moment, too many suffer lonely hearts and empty spirits today.  This requires the attention of us all which is why I put myself aside for a bit of time and took a look at what lay beyond that closed-door in my heart.  And yes, tears were shed as these memories again ravaged my spirit and held hostage my mind.  For I found my letter towards love from not so long ago………….

Oh Lord, my heart is so tired and alone it seems.  I know You are with me, that You reside in my heart.  And for this, I truly give thanks.  But so often, my heart aches and yearns for a special someone with which to share my Life.  I have much to give for You have given much to me.  And for this, I also give much thanks.  I know you are my Source and the Supplier of my Life.  That is why I feel almost traitorous when I say that I wish for and need something more.  I long to be touched and to touch another in return.  My soul cries out for this to be so.  I do not speak of simple lust.  In this world, that could be easily remedied, were I to choose that road.  That type of behavior does not lie within me.  I speak rather of a physical contact where true love is at its core, where hearts and spirits are shared and become as one.  This is my desire, one born of a season too long empty and dry.  My soul is often tortured for the lack of the Life-giving waters of a love freely given.

The vessel that is my heart ran aground long ago and seems to be buried now in the sands of loneliness.  Our hearts, our spirits were designed to sail upon Love’s ocean, unfettered and with Hope reflecting upon the horizon.  It is how our soul is sustained.  I fear love will not again find me on this desert island which goes unseen day upon day upon lonely day.  It seems there is no escaping the dark soul that is this place for I have tried and often.  The strength within my spirit and my soul is diminishing so my attempts to escape are not as frequent these days.  Prudence whispers quietly that I must conserve what is left in hopes of a rescue.  This idea seems real enough still.  So I wait. Even as Life’s light begins to dim, I wait.  And I hope.

My Lord Jesus, what is to become of me??  What of my heart and its need for love??  It is You who placed these needs, these desires within me.  Why do You turn Your Face from me now?  It is more than I can bear, this void that steals away my Life.  I do not fear Death.  There are days when I would bid Death welcome, if only this pain would die with me.  What I do fear is this existence which seems to have wrapped tightly its cold, unfeeling arms around me, slowly breaking my heart.  Life’s breath eludes me so often now and the Spirit that indwells me is malnourished, the result of my diminished capacity to breathe.  The world becomes dark as does my tired heart which seems to beat ever slower with each passing day.  Even still, I wait.  And I hope.

Do not leave me here, I pray thee, My Lord.  I have not yet given up hope that the fire I keep alive on Desolation’s shore will be noticed by one who is also looking to be touched in Love.  Should this come about, I would without hesitation attempt to swim out beyond the breakers that best me, unmindful of the dangers lurking below.  It would be better to die in a valiant effort to reach Love’s touch than to continue this pain of isolation.

I should tell you, Lord that I am not and would not consider violating the gift of Life You have so freely given unto me.  Life is a sacred thing, a living thing and for me to cut short that gift is blasphemous, a slap in the face of God and nothing less.  I am just so tired now.  We were not meant to live solitary lives. To be alone and without love is in direct conflict with the nature in which we were created.  There are those who would say they need no one save themselves.  I would suggest that perhaps they are deceiving themselves so as to avoid the risk involved when one loves another with their whole heart.  Or perhaps they have been blessed with a strength that I do not possess.  I do not know that answer and my heart has become tired in the course of my writing this letter to you, my Lord and Creator of my Life.  All I do know is that I felt it important to put pen to paper today, the anniversary which celebrates four years almost to the day, the day that I was cast onto this lifeless island where I remain a prisoner.

Lord, I pray that You read these words and attend to my prayers.  Please respond as my heart is fading now.  I anxiously await Your reply…..

Yours in faith believing,

Anonymous, for You know Your children as by their name……

Author William J. Thompson, Jr.

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The River

Life is very much like a river, wouldn’t you think?  Come, let us take a look at that river even just now.  The first thing we can observe is the surface, which is relatively calm in most situations.  It mirrors the sky and trees above it, a beautiful sight to behold as earth and sky reflect as one.  Yet this reflection also serves to disguise the world just below this shimmering, placid picture.  Just below the rivers’ surface, there are numerous currents, flowing this way and that, seemingly with minds of their own.  There are countless life forms below as well, too many to count with each one trying to live out its life cycle.  Many simply do not make it.  Some are swallowed whole by others, their existence ended in the time it takes to blink your eyes.  Others are dissected slowly, one bit at a time as if this river of life had sent an emissary to deal with them, perhaps to see how much it will take to break them or perhaps to see if they will break at all!  Yes, the waters here are teeming with all sorts of scenarios that make up its life and the lives within it.  Are there not parallels to be drawn with life above surface?

Speaking of the world above the river’s surface, let us now return there for a time.  Now if one looks sharply, they will see what appears to be a canoe coming this way.  As it draws close, it is apparent that there are two men in this canoe, sometimes paddling and at other times simply  allowing the current to pull them along.  They are coming in closer now, close enough to see they are surely Father and Son.  One would have to be without sight not to see the resemblance.  At first glance, they appear to be having themselves a good time.  The Son is at the rear of the canoe and occasionally uses the paddle to “accidentally” splash water on the father.  At some point, he even steers the craft into some overhanging branches which, of course grazes Dad’s head!  Oops!  And their laughter fills the sky above when this occurs.  Yes, it appears they are having themselves a grand time here!……On the surface, that is.

However, if you look a just a bit closer in, you may see some irritation in the eyes of the younger fellow.  You might even catch a glimpse of a sort of satisfaction in those eyes when the front of the canoe heads into the branches previously mentioned.  Now beyond that, there is nothing that the casual observer would notice.  But were it possible to probe deeper, to go further below the surface, you would see that things are not always as they seem to be.  You would see a picture of the Father at work, always at work during the formative years of his sons’ life.  As the years wear on, you get glimpses of discord in family life, of situations beyond control and lives seemingly out of control.  And Dad?  Well, Dad is the provider, trying to provide and doing what he feels is the right thing for his family.  The Son understands these things as he matures, of course.  Or does he really?  Perhaps there is some small part of him that carries resentment towards those lost years and the lack of family unity.  And I am speculating here, but perhaps that resentment surfaced, if only briefly during that day on the river.

Yes, Life is indeed very much like a river.  And a river is very much like Life.  I suppose that may be where the term “River of Life” originated from. Perhaps this is true.

 

Authored by William J. Thompson, Jr.

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A Tribute to Father

Strong arms for support,

to uphold when it’s needed.

Strong hands for the guidance,

to correct and conduce.

The voice, at times stern tho’ never austere,

serves to encourage, to advise, to inspire.

The eyes are observant,

perceptive and thoughtful.

They show kindness, concern, and are known to smile.

The stride is sure, the energy tireless,

working each day to provide for his own.

The manner is quiet, just slightly reserved.

The love runs beneath, its current is strong.

These are parts of your character,

of things I’ve perceived.

I’m pleased you’re my father

just so you would know.

I wanted to tell you

and speak best when I write.

Authored by William J. Thompson, Jr.

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