Dear Christopher and Michele,
I wanted to take the opportunity presented by this Father’s Day to share a few things with the two of you. Both of you have either told me that my Father’s day gift is being made or what it is you want to get me on this day, but I wanted you to know what it is I hope for.
I hope you both know how much you are loved. The two of you are my life’s deepest joy. I held you moments after you were born, when your arms and legs weren’t much bigger than my fingers. Then you fit into my hands, but you made a journey into my heart and there I still hold you both. Though you are adults now, you are still my children. My love for you began even before you were born and it has only deepened over the years. My parental role and responsibilities have changed as you have become adults, but my great desire to see you thrive in life and my willingness to help you in that pursuit has not lessened in the least. Your life is your own, but remember you are never alone as you seek to live it.
I hope I have taught you well that it is important to work for a world that is just and fair for all people. I hope you have learned that prejudices and stereo-types are products of fear and ignorance and they should have no place in a society that believes in “justice and liberty for all.” It does not matter the color of someone’s skin, the language of their tongue, the religion of their heart, and it doesn’t matter whom they choose to love. Human beings are on a journey together and we need to have respect for the diversity that this world has to offer. I hope I have taught you this in a way that leads you to stand opposed to the forces in this world that would have us fear those who are different.
I hope you know that the violence that is part of our nation, especially gun violence with the death of 93 people every day, is not the way things are supposed to be and we don’t have to simply accept it. In a democracy we all have a voice and an ability to make things better than they are today. Never accept that the way things are is the way things have to be. Those who never want to enact changes and accept things the way they are are wrong. You have a voice. You have a vote. Use them. You have the power to unite with groups and organizations which are working for a better world. Join them. You have heard me quote Dr. King many times in sermons. Among all the things he taught us was the fact that change can happen. It takes time and persistence, but it can happen. Work, my children, for a better world.
I hope you realize how deeply appreciative I am of the role you both played in helping me through a very difficult time in my life. When I doubted if I could make it another day, you were there to help keep me going. You were my energy when I had none. You were my laughter when I was crying. You were my reasoned thought when I could barely think at all. I never thought I would have to be held up through the good will and efforts of my children, but I was and I will be forever grateful. Life has turned for me and every day is not now a chore to get through, but a gift waiting to be experienced. That you two are part of each day is a wonderful example of the Grace that I think is behind all of life.
Finally, I hope you know that more than any present you could give me for Father’s Day is the gift of seeing you passionate about the things that matter – life, love, justice, kindness and peace. Strive for these things and other things will take care of themselves.
I love you both and wish God’s deepest blessings upon your lives.