Monday, March 5, 2012

For My Son Antonio, Words For A Lifetime

  Antonio, you are my intelligent, funny, handsome, well-behaved, kindhearted, sweet, brave, and happy young man.  It has been more than three years since you have seen me.  You likely have few memories of me by now.  

  I remember how you used to get up every morning, the moment you heard me stirring about the house.  No matter how early it was, you would eagerly get out of bed, grab your blue blanket and a Hot Wheels car, find me and say, "Hi, Poppi!" and give me a giant hug.  You would follow me through all my morning tasks.  I recall you constantly sitting at my feet as I prepared my coffee, when I ironed, shaved, etc.  When I would leave for work, you always gave me a giant squeeze and made sure it was big enough to last all day. You would ask, "Is that big enough, Papa?"    

  One of the most joyful parts of my day, was when I arrived home from work. Your sisters, Isabella and Madeleine, would call out to you and let you know I was home.  Just like in all happy homes around the world, when the father comes home, it was a celebration when I entered the house.  You and your sisters would yell, "YAY!  Papa's home."  You would sing it over and over again, and I would be showered with hugs and kisses, and you and Isabella would say, "play with me, play with me."  What a perfect snapshot of life. 

  We were always together when I was not working.  On my days off you would stay at my side all day long.  If I ever left you at home while I went to the store, for example, it would crush your little heart if I did not take you with me.  You were such a good boy.

  A season of our lives has been stripped away from us, and hopefully we will be reunited one day soon. I often fall back on this scripture, "And I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten" Joel 2:25.  I certainly pray for God to give me back the years I have been without you. This time away from you is excruciating for me, as I miss you in every way possible a father could miss his only son. 
  I fear I may never see you again, so I am compelled to write down some advice, as I may not be able to tell you this in person or teach you by example.  We can call it "a road map for your life."  I have 11 things I want to share with you.  Read these ideas well, and keep them in your heart at all times.  

Son, wherever you are, be there!  Be there in mind and spirit in whatever you do.  Do not be distracted by other tasks when there is a current task at hand.  Live in every moment.

"One of the major reasons why we fail to find happiness or to create a unique lifestyle is because we have not yet mastered the art of being."
- Jim Rohn

"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
- Matthew 6:34

Son, always care for and respect women.  Treat them tenderly as you would a delicate flower in every word and action you have. Love your mother and sisters unconditionally.

"Women wish to be loved without a why or a wherefore; not because they are pretty, or good, or well-bred, or graceful, or intelligent, but because they are themselves."
- Henri Fredric Amiel

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it."
- Col 3:19        

Son, endeavor to simplify life.

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you.  Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life."
- Robert Louis Stevenson

"I know what it is like to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want." 
- Philippians 4:12

Son, do not let obstacles get in your way.  If something frightens you, consider doing it.  LEAP!

"Go for it now.  The future is promised to no one." 
- Wayne Dyer

"Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact."
- Henry James

 "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong."        
- 1 Corinthians 16:13

Son, do things for others that will develop you in the long run, even if it is inconvenient for you in the short term.
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?"
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends."
- John 15:13

"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."
- Philippians 2:4

Son, share yourself. Be kind to others, especially to the outcast. Make them feel welcome. 

"A kind and compassionate act is often its own reward." 
- William Bennett

"Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassion every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart."
- Zechariah 7:9-10 

Son, be an honest man in all things. 

"Almost any difficulty will move in the face of honesty. When I am honest, I never feel stupid.  And when I am honest, I am automatically humble."
- Hugh Prather

"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much."
- Luke 16:10 

Son, if you are having trouble finding your path in life, that's good.  Learn to be patient.  Nothing in life is ever easy.  All things will come together when the time is right. 

"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men." 
- John F. Kennedy

"A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else."
- George Savile

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 
- Jeremiah 29:11

Son, never be complacent. Look beyond yourself.

"I hate to see complacency prevail in our lives when it's so directly contrary to the teaching of Christ." 
- Jimmy Carter

"When a great team loses through complacency, it will constantly search for new and more intricate explanations to explain away defeat." - Pat Riley

"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!"
- Revelation 3:15

Son, make it a point to earn a living to live life, and never live to earn a living.

"Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God - the rest will be given."
- Mother Teresa

"Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have."
- Luke 16:13

Son, never let your heart, your head, your hands, your feet, or your mouth be used for anything other than good. 

"An act of goodness is of itself an act of happiness. No reward coming after the event can compare with the sweet reward that went with it."
- Maurice Maeterlinck

"Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies."
- Psalms 34:13

"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and He will flee from you. "
- James 4:7

Beyond these 11 thoughts, my greatest hope for you is that you are happy and comfortable with the choices you make in life. These are the things you will own your entire lifetime.  You have the freedom to make these choices the way you see fit.  You will make many choices every day, and I pray you make every one of them count! 

Remember for all your days my love for you is a greater feeling beyond everything else I know.

I am here for you.  All you have to do is ask for me. 

I love you,


Home is where the heart is.... 

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