What's In a Man's Heart

"A father should be his son's first hero, and his daughters first love."

When I was a child of five or six, I climbed into my father's lap as he sat waiting for my mother to finish dressing. Without objection, he stubbed out his cigarette, and pulled me close; his right arm held me protectively against his chest.

Freshly showered and shaved, Daddy smelled of Skin Bracer, and Lucky Strike cigarettes.

Comforted, I breathed deeply, and burrowed my cheek into the front of his crisply, starched shirt.

We sat there, just the two of us, in the quiet, semi-darkness of twilight. Safely wrapped in my daddy's arms, I was profoundly content. In my innocence, I knew what it was to be loved.

Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom . . . with my ear pressed warmly against his chest . . . ba-boom, ba-boom . . . I could hear the rhythmic beat of my father's heart . . . Ba-boom! Ba-boom! Ba-boom!

Suddenly, and unexpectedly, I was afraid.  Ba-boom! Ba-boom! Ba-boom! I couldn't help but wonder . . . BA-BOOM . . . what would happen if . . . BA-BOOM . . . it stopped?  The thought was too painful to consider!

Panicked, I sat up, and broke the spell.

In every lifetime, there are defining moments. In that moment, I knew death, and understood what it meant to be mortal. My daddy, the person I loved more than any other, wouldn't be mine forever.

I was overwhelmed with fear. I simply couldn't bear the idea of a world void of my father's love.

Daddy's heart beats on into it's eightieth year, a milestone I tearfully celebrate with the little girl I once was. Our relationship with my father didn't end overnight in an exchange of angry words, and the slam of a door. It slipped away like water through the fingers of a cupped hand.

I accept responsibility for the role I played in the disintegration of our relationship, but still I wonder, did Daddy just forget who I was? I tried to remind him that I was still here, but he didn't seem to recognize the face of his child in the adult I'd become. I could speculate forever on the whys and wherefores, but in the end, only God knows what's in a man's heart.

For most of my life, my father made me feel loved, and for that I will always be grateful.

Happy Birthday Dad - we will always love you.


  1. Beautifully written, as always. I send Birthday wishes to Poppy

  2. So touching. Thank you for sharing such a sweet tribute to your father!

  3. Love your blog. The post is perfectly written and captured my heart.

  4. What a wonderful place to learn life's -sometimes scary lessons - in the safety of daddy's embrace. So too with Abba - but you will never spill out of His embrace - He will always be your safe place.De. 33:27

  5. Love, love this. I find some of myself here, too. Thanks for sharing with us!

  6. Beautiful post! I had a good father, but more distant than what you've experienced. I'm very thankful for my Heavenly Father.

  7. Hello Karen,
    This is such a heartfelt post. The realization of mortality for a young child, is overwhelming and just difficult. I remember when my great gran passed away. I just couldn't understand it. I had to be removed from the church.... And, my grandmother lost her mind when my aunt died in her arms, which led to her dementia. Life is difficult, but full of love and joy, at the same time. Our Father holds us close and tends our broken hearts. Many blessings.

    P.S. Found you in the castteam thread.

  8. How sweet. This is an absolutely lovely tribute!