What Have We Learned From Our Fathers

What have we learned from our fathers
who modeled young impressions
of strength, fortitude, and presence
determined not to be denied
while faltering in a weakness
that we could not feel
looking for them to come home
in old Fords and Chevrolets
holding empty lunch boxes
that held no hope for tomorrow
except father’s dreams
that God will make a way somehow
and somehow right the wrong
reversing father’s burdens
and grant their hearts a rest and ease
which does not evolve in the morning.
Early they encourage you to get up
be that worm bird with
the jump, head start on life.
Still you walk in dream sleep
thinking vanities of vanities.
What have we learned from our fathers
who owned a last part of day
bucket bathed for the evening
sustaining in social relationships
among hunters heartily hustling
learned skills that lit our way
through the soft night
protecting us from the harshness
of knowing oppression and poverty
in the beloved community
separated from the goodness of God
yet experiencing and sharing His love
as we played late in the evening
King Of the Hill and Hide And Go See
to the tune of a fast 100 countdown
of the years passing
revealing the lessons of discovery
that prepared us for participation
in a larger, exclusive, and unsettled world
which our father’s faith
trusted we would uncover
and return with their dreams
of power upon our heads.
Power to overcome or at least avoid
the mistakes and shortcomings of their past
not perpetually repeated
nor exacerbated in succeeding generations
who need fathers to learn
how to love, even as The Father
so loved the world
that He gave His all
to give us fathers
who will turn our hearts to Him
and help new generations learn
God anoints with power
for goodness and abundance in this life.

L. Jerome Jones

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