"Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4b
|My Father's Cane|
You see, for the past four or five years of my father's life he was rarely seen without the presence of his cane in his hand...or by his chair...or nearby wherever he happened to be at the time. There were a few times (well, maybe more than just a few) in the more recent past that he forgot where he put his cane, and the hunt would be on, searching high and low, on doorknobs, windowsills, window cranks (those metal cranks that open and close the old awning style windows in my father's house), behind the door, on top of his bed, under his bed, or some other previously unthought of corner of the house...until the wandering cane could be found and returned to his anxious hands, restoring his sense of security and balance once again. Even though in his latter days he relied more and more on a walker for his balance and footing, he still insisted on carrying that cane with him wherever he went...just in case he might need it to get himself up or down...or to retrieve an errant shoe or other item just beyond his reach.
Yes, my father's cane was a pretty significant part of his life...and we all knew it. It sometimes became a bit of a joke with us, and he'd playfully threaten to "cane us" if we messed with his precious cane too much! Daddy was always a bit of a jokester, but yet there was a more serious side underneath when it came to this cane.
So it was on that day of the estate sale of his household belongings that I noticed his cane standing there alone by the door, and I knew that I had to have it. I could not let it be sold to strangers...it was just too much a part of my Dad. You see, this particular cane wasn't just an ordinary wooden cane...it actually had belonged to my Grandma and Grandpa before my Dad. I can still remember the day of my Grandmother's funeral, when we went back to her home for a family gathering after her burial, that I saw her cane standing there alone in the corner of her dining room. It struck me then that she was really gone, and I found myself wanting to go and just hold on to her cane as if it was a part of her. Perhaps my Dad felt the same way, and that is why he ended up with the cane...and why he held on to it so tightly in his latter years. Perhaps it gave him strength...not just in the physical sense by holding him up, but maybe in an emotional sense as well...a connection to his past...to his loved ones gone on before...and maybe it was a bit like holding on to his mother's hand again as he had as a child. Perhaps it gave him comfort.
Last week I had some surgery, and when I came home from the hospital I was having some difficulty getting myself up and down and balancing myself while walking. I asked my husband to bring me Daddy's cane, and he did...and as I held the well-worn handle in my hand, I found the strength I needed to get myself up...and the balance my legs were lacking in order to walk around in my home. I was greatly comforted in holding on to my father's cane, and felt connected to him as if I was holding on to his hand and he was supporting me and lifting me up. It was an extremely special experience for me...
I think I better understand that portion of the beloved 23rd Psalm now in verse 4:
Yes, my Heavenly Father's cane...His rod and His staff...does comfort me, support me, and sustain me in the times of my weakness and anxiety. Even when I may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I do not need to fear any evil...for God is with me...and..."Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 23:6 Amen.
|My Dad, Thanksgiving 2009. Notice the cane hooked over the back of his chair.|
Such a precious man...sure do miss him...but I know I will see him again someday.
Until then, I'm happy to have such precious memories.