Father’s Day 2010: A Face of America Commentary

By Tony Mussari
Copyright 2010
Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD
The Face of America Project

This Father’s Day, my heart and soul will be owned by a father who lives a painful truth of fatherhood every day of the week.
There is something in the heart of a father that causes him to love, nurture and protect his child.  It’s both similar and different from a mother’s love.
There is something the heart of a father that causes him to dream big dreams for his child.
There is something in the heart of a father that causes him to smile every time he thinks about his child.
There is something in the heart of a father that enables him to endure all of the hardships, pain and complication that goes with raising a child.
A father’s gift is deeply rooted in his thoughts about a thousand tomorrows of opportunity for his child, not himself. He dreams about a thousand family moments spent in celebrating the milestones in his child’s life.
A father’s heart is made of hope, understanding, support and forgiveness. No inconvenience is too much and no transgression is too great, because a father’s heart is a giving heart that thinks of the child’s needs first, last and always.
There are times, of course, when these needs demand that a father say no and mean it: no smoking, no drinking, no drugs, no gambling, no disrespect, no irresponsibility, and no recklessness. Every father knows the litany: no transgressions of the heart or soul that would damage the innocence and goodness of the child.
In a father’s mind, the goodness of the child always comes first.
In a father’s heart, the story about the child is always tomorrow’s story of accomplishment, fulfillment, happiness and success. Fathers don’t think about failure, unhappiness, and dislocation for their children.  They do everything in their power to guarantee potential fulfilled.
On this Father’s Day, my heart and mind will be owned by a father whose heart is shattered, a father whose heart is heavy, and a father whose heart is noble.
On this Father’s Day, my heart will be with Daniel Perez, a big man with a beautiful heart that will always be broken because his child gave her life in the service of her country.  She was 23-years old. She died in a place few of us could find on a map, in acountry filled with fathers with broken hearts and broken dreams.
On this Father’s Day, my prayer is for Daniel Perez and all the fathers of our country and the world who sit in houses with empty rooms, empty chairs and an empty future of broken dreams and unfulfilled promise. For them, the words painted by a child on a tile I found on a wall of tributes say it all. “Hope is Stronger than Death.”
Ironically, this tile is part of the People’s Memorial to the Heroes of Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA, a place where fathers come to celebrate heroic death and the promise of life after death. That’s what keeps the memory of 2nd Lt. Emily Perez alive and the Daniel Perezes of the world moving forward in honor of the children they have lost.
Thomas Merton was right:
Death is someone you see very clearly with eyes in the center of your heart: eyes that see not by reacting to light, but by reacting to a kind of chill from within the marrow of your own life.

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