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Don Timo

"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." 1 John 3:1

In many countries, including Argentina, the third Sunday in June is celebrated as Father's Day. I've always said that being a mother or father involves your whole life; and every day you should celebrate this role. Yet, I'm also one of those people who likes to have a date to celebrate and remember, that's why I always try to do something for the fathers I have around me.

I'm someone who admires the relationship with a father and his son/daughter and viceversa, maybe because its a relationship that I don't know completely. For one thing, I am a single mother and also because my relationship with my father was not very close. My parents separated when I was very young, throughout the years my dad lived in another city and later went to live in another country (Buenos Aires, Argentina). Even though we didn't lose communication with the distance it was a bit more complicated. God gave me the blessing of being raised mostly with my grandfather. He was a special man, we lived in a small town and he was well known as a humble and upright person. He was very respected in the town as he was one of the oldest men in the area. He spoke with everyone, he would give advice to the youth, telling them to study and work hard, never taking what was not theirs and to respect their parents. It always caught my attention that he had an open heart and was friendly towards all. We lived near the town square and I am almost certain that most, if not all, the town knew him. He had the gift of reaching people and speaking with wise words from his experience, he was a great example for me. I had the best "dad" and I would always call him that.

Writing these memories, brings so many more to mind, but I will tell you of one specific memory. I can still close my eyes and I see his hands lifted up in prayer for his family. Every morning, the first thing he did was pray on his knees, raising his hands to heaven and asking for blessing for his family. Generally, he would do this in his room, and I remember many times I would find him in perfect intimacy with the Father, God. Sometimes when he heard news that broke his heart, he would raise his hands with prayer and tears no matter where he was. I don't come from a Christian family, but he was the one who taught me so much about prayer and with a humble heart asking God for everything.

I left that town and stopped living with them in 2005 when I went to study in another city, and later I came to live in another country, but I always had the opportunity to return and see him and my grandma. I everytime I went to see him or called him on the phone he told me that he prayed on his knees for my daughter Brittany and I, and I don't doubt it. He was a man of prayer. When I told him that I was baptized and began attending a church he was very glad and said that this was the right way. He passed away in 2015, we all suffered his loss, and when I say "we" I mean the whole town, including the homeless from that area that came to his funeral. When he was alive he saw them and would check on them, asking if they had food and shelter. He felt empathy for them. It still makes me sad to go home and find that my grandparents are not there, now that my grandma has also passed away. They said that she couldn't live without him.

He always said that people should write a book and plant a tree. He planted a tree and every year it grows bigger (see photo). And even though he didn't write a book, he left behind an exemplary life story.

His name was Timothy, but everyone called him "Don Timo." This Don Timo was my father, when I think about Father's Day, I think about him and his example. Maybe he wasn't always by my side, and he had other responsibilities, but he was there as much as he could be. He spoke about what he believed in without fear, but I had fear to let him down and to hurt him, which I'm sure that I did. When I think of his memory, I am reminded that I was not always the giver of love in our relationship, but instead I was the receiver.

It makes me think of my relationship with Abba. It might be difficult to see Him in His fullness as our dad. He is our "Father," but not according to what I know about fathers, not like the father that I had or you had. Because if you had a father or someone who filled that role, like an uncle, brother or grandfather, he was only an imperfect human. Not like our Abba Father, who is by our side at all times, who listens, who protects, who embraces, who cries when we cry, that washes our wounds, looks on us with love, who has words of kindness, and pours out grace and gives mercy. And no matter what you've done or haven't done, His love for you won't change.

Today I'm thinking about my father Timo and the song that my mom and his daughters sang to him:

My father is a king,

His heart wears his crown.

His heart is made of love

And he doesn't hold a grudge.

Father one day I saw hidden tears in your eyes,

Praying blessing on your beloved children,

Giving thanks to God for your children.

My father is a king,

He taught me to appreciate things that are good and true,

Blessed are you my beloved father!

I saw this in my father, and I hope that you can focus on the positive things in the man that you call father. I hope that you can express the love you have for him, even if you can't hug him in person, you can thank God in heaven for him. And as you reflect on your earthly father, you can be all the more grateful for the perfect Dad that God is!



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