Springtime in Kansas is fecund with verdant grace. January calves follow their mothers. The coyote brood wends its way over the Flint Hills. It is a time of joy and expectation, and a promise of merciful work to come.
Into this bright joy, a father comes, his own daughters, like little lambs, skipping before him and calling his name. His is a tender love, but fierce. He will drape their brows with kisses. And he will, with arched eyebrow and slanted gaze, take his measure of the soul of that boy at the door to see if in him he has what it will take to be a man. To know whether within that boy’s heart beats the knowledge of just what are these treasures of a father’s heart.
This father’s heart is a curious thing. It is a heart that, at that first cry of his little girls, breaks wide open. The pain of it must certainly feel as though he will be split in two. And yet it is necessary. For only by this gaping fracture can such a heart expand to the love it now has to give.
For a father knows a thing or two that a daughter’s heart, young and innocent, may miss. So he prays, his prayers full of blood and fire. He will call all the hosts of heaven against anything or anyone that will hurt or sadden or pain his little girls. And yet he will not tremble at the face of the necessary hurts that must come to a daughter’s heart, if she is to be brought outside herself to face a world with the strength and confidence of the father’s hand she clasps in her tiny fist.
This is the work of a father, which continues all his life without cease. For once a father, no man can undo his destiny. It will remake him. And it may save him.
And when this father’s life has passed into that springtime that never ends, he will trace his arc across the mazes of the sky, under the Lady’s protection, his prayers for his daughters trailing out behind him like a golden thread. When the great mercy brings him home, his prayers will continue. And he will pray for his little lambs till the lightning splits the sky from east to west and the great shout shatters the worlds.
[Other Kansas reflections are here. Other Fatherhood Chronicles are here.]