Friday, May 4, 2012

cry, baby.

have you ever seen your dad cry? for many folks this is an impossible scenario. I have a lot of friends who say that they wouldn't know what to do if they saw their fathers cry. they can't remember seeing them cry, ever, no matter the circumstance.

well, my dad cries almost once a week, if not once every few days. i chuckle as i think about all the times: after the end of moulin rouge, during a scene in harry potter 1, while talking about god at the dinner table, in the middle of preaching in front of his entire congregation. some of his tears are easy to make fun of -- and mostly, my mom is first in line to shake her head while making fun of my dad as he wipes his eyes with the back of his hand.

but other times, I watch him cry and am moved, not necessarily by the same thing he's crying at, but by the largeness of his heart. my dad loves god so much -- it's weird to even write that sentence, but it's true. and his understanding of the redemption story -- of god pro nobis, ever the pursuer, ever the seeker of hearts that seek God -- is so intense that he is often startled to tears at the slightest thought or whiff of any narrative that resembles the "greatest story ever told."

as an adult christian who was raised in the church, I admit that cynicism and jadedness have taken a toll on my once-open heart. my dad's child-like faith is a constant inspiration.

in a somewhat related story, I have to share with you about the most recent time when dad cried in front of me.

my sister had just gotten the new iphone so we decided to facetime. once our phones made the connection we excitedly showed off various things in our respective environments: she showed me her new puppy, and i probably showed her something less exciting, like my new nailpolish color or my hair style that day.

suddenly my mom opened the door to tell uno dinner was ready -- uno pointed her phone to my mom's face as i awkwardly said hello. my mom, unphased, was just like, oh hey jeannie ... uno, come eat! hahaha

so uno brought "me" to the living room and showed "me" to my dad. my dad was a little more surprised. wow, this is so amazing! he said, his eyes widening. he continued to marvel at the iphone while my mom impatiently ordered everyone to the dinner table. with a shrug, my sister brought me along too.

So basically, you guys, I was "sitting" at the dinner table with my whole family, but really, "I" was my sister's iPhone, propped up against something. I could see them, they could see me, but obviously, it wasn't really me! disturbing, indeed.

my family gathered hands to pray, as is our custom, and I also sort of closed my eyes, but felt really weird the entire time. my dad started out with his prayer -- "dear god, thank you for this wonderful food, thank you for mommy, for uno, for jeannie ...".

and true to form, he gasped a little, choked up, and cried.

i think for all of us, facetime didn't make us feel closer. it made us feel more aware of our distance. I was there, but my body wasn't. i couldn't hug them and they couldn't hug me. i couldn't eat dinner with them or hold hands with them. in this instance, "reality" was so much worse than "virtual reality."

after my dad cried his way through the end of his prayer, my mom, of course, made fun of him a little. I laughed and said don't cry, and then got off the phone as quickly as a could. as soon as  i hung up, i crumpled onto my desk and sobbed for a good 5 minutes. uno says dad did the same.

glad to know that despite the distance, i'm still my father's daughter


  1. This was the most beautiful, tender, loving story I've read in awhile. Thank you for these words and images, Jeannie. Your family is really special.

  2. yeah, I'm my father's daughter too - sometimes it hurts too much...Thanks for the post dear.