In second grade, my teacher noted on my report card that despite my firm grasp on reading, when it came to math, I was still counting on my fingers. Some 47 years later, I occasionally find myself tapping out hours and years this way.
So, when LinkedIn reminded me it had been 10 years since I’d begun this “Living Faith” column, after mentioning my nine-year anniversary earlier this month, I had to chuckle at my persisting conflict with numbers.
It was also a reminder that it had been a decade since my father died, which seems even more significant than a work-anniversary blunder.
After an initial announcement, my first real faith column in January 2013 addressed my father’s illness over the holidays. I’ll never forget having to submit an update the morning before publication, texting my editor that my father had died early that morning, and requesting she note that at the end of the column.
I’ve issued other corrections through the years, but that was the hardest one, knowing it would be in print for all the world to see. It still hits me in the heart. Ten years seems like yesterday. Grief seems timeless at times.
What’s ironic about the confluence of these two things—my father’s death and starting this column—is that he was the one who ignited my passion for writing most of all, along with helping pass on the faith to me. And yet, he never got to read one of my faith columns.
As he was struggling in the hospital a few months before his death, on Thanksgiving, I told him about the opportunity I’d been given with The Forum, and he responded with pride. I just wish he’d have been around for the rest. I sense he is aware somehow, and that someday, I’ll be able to experience how pleased he has been with my commitment to the written word, to God, and to truth.
Perhaps it’s good he has been spared the negative responses that have emerged from some of my writings on faith, which have not always been well-received in this world of brokenness. Nevertheless, I do think he would have remained proud of my efforts and desire to bring darkness into the light.
I’m certain Dad would agree with my writing not only about noncontroversial issues, but also those that provoke uncomfortable discussion. Case in point, the Moorhead Human Rights Commission’s recent presentation of a humanitarian award to Tammi Kromenaker, Red River Women’s Clinic abortion facility manager.
Some see a grave injustice in this award; others, a worthy honor. And herein lies the divide that has gripped our nation and world for so long. Is the life in the womb one of us, or not? We must answer this question thoughtfully and respond accordingly—and forthrightly.
It’s been said that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Dad would have agreed that both lives involved deserve due concern and care.
[For the sake of having a repository for my newspaper columns and articles, I reprint them here, with permission, a week after their run date. The preceding ran in The Forum newspaper on Jan. 30, 2023.]