I've been writing poetry since the 70's. In all that time, and of all of those words that have managed to make their way from my mind and heart out onto paper, the poem that is perhaps my "signature" poem is My Father's Eyes. It is my husband's favorite poem. It is a poem that I wrote around the time of one of my birthdays. Usually a pretty upbeat time of life, but for me, more often a very pensive and introspective time. This is why . . .
My mother died on the operating table when I was born. I was her fifth pregnancy, and she had suffered some kind of abdominal injury years earlier that had weakened the lining of her uterus. I don't know that they were aware of the implications of further pregnancies on that kind of injury. I don't know a lot of things about what exactly happened medically during that time. I only know that a mom and dad went to the hospital to have a baby that day, and the dad ended up coming home alone. It was completely unexpected. It was devastating. My dad was undone, and grieved deeply.
This poem is a snapshot of my life. I must testify to the truth of God's faithfulness and goodness in holding me close through every part of it. When I was lonely. When I felt responsible. When I felt unloved. And, yes, when finally accepting the fact that I AM LOVED. May you experience that same awareness of His care in your life.
My Father’s Eyes
A lifetime ago the birth of a babe
Should have been a joyous affair.
Instead came the news of a mother’s death
And a father’s eyes filled with despair.
Over the years I longed for a look
From those eyes that would let me know
That I was enough to replace his loss,
But the sadness continued to grow.
I knew with my mind that his love was real –
But only because he MUST.
His grief was too heavy – his burden to bear;
His eyes never filled with trust.
My birthday was always a lonesome day –
A reminder of what he had lost.
And it seemed that his eyes reflected
How great and unfair the cost.
Year upon year had taken its toll
And his mind was no longer strong.
He couldn’t express his words or thoughts
And everything came out wrong.
Then came the day at the nursing home
When I stopped by to see my dad.
He saw me approach and his eyes lit with joy
And I knew that his heart was glad.
The look I had longed for was shining so bright
From the eyes of the one I held dear.
Soon the haze settled in and the look was gone
But my heart held the memory near.
For years I had waited, for years I had feared,
Not knowing that I was adored;
That the look of delight was there all along
In the eyes of my Father and Lord.
My dad, from the pain buried deep in his soul
Couldn’t share what was there in his heart.
But the look, had I noticed, from God’s tender gaze,
Was there from the very start.