Words of Hope: On Writing Words of Hope

A very sweet friend took me to lunch. She has been so kind in sending encouragement after a Words of Hope message she resonated with. As we met for lunch, she asked me about the writing process. For me, writing Words of Hope is a way to honor my dad who truly was such an incredible father. I hope these little messages of his life inspire others to be a remarkable father like he was. My tender friend shared that she missed having her father growing up as her dad passed away when she was young. How many people long for a good father? I think Words of Hope written by my dad to chronicle his journey with cancer is also what is needed to become a present and loving parent or to walk through grief. 

Writing Words of Hope as a process of navigating my grief has been in some ways like a collective grieving, this deep loss of a good dad. As I write, I feel like I weep with the world, I weep together with all children longing for a good father. Very few people growing up have amazing dads. They are a mysterious gift. Why do some have the priceless gift of a good mother or father, and some do not? This is a mystery and sorrow for me. Now for the first time, I feel jealous when someone says, “I had lunch with my dad,” or “My dad turned ninety and is still going strong.” I stuff down the impulse to count how many more years I could have had with Dad. 

Words of Hope ideas emerge out of books read, conversations, prayers, memories, and struggles. Quite often they are generated from the space of imagining a conversation I had or would now like to have with Dad. It is funny how annoyed I would get with Dad over his wanting to read or talk about Words of Hope. I found his writings to me were more didactic than our regular conversations. Now, I wish I would have been full of delight when he wanted to read me something he wrote. There is a beauty to writing that is surprising. There is something inherently intimate and vulnerable in the writing process I did not previously realize. There is joy when someone surprises you on the journey. Writing provides a sacred space to weep, to remember, to honor, to live with greater intention.  

Thank you, Dad for the gift of Words of Hope

“Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” 

– Psalm 34:11