“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve — even in pain — the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.”

― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I refer to this quite often. Today because it affirms that missing my father who died seven years ago today, does not make me weak, and the pain that I feel due to his absence in my live is made sacred with the patience of God. I can in gratitude be very joyful for the many remembrances of my father. The Divine is present in the emptiness and in the pain. God allows that torment to be transformed into a hidden treasure.  I am very certain of the gift that Robert J George was in my life. I am very certain because the emptiness or the gap that exists because of his absence, allows me to plumb the depths of the authentic relationship we had as father and son. In remembering all that was good in Dad’s life, gifted with a reminder that God loved in him. In remembering all that was struggle in Dad’s life, I gifted with the assurance that God sustained and strengthened him and will sustain and strengthen me in my own trials.

I look at this picture of a day with Dad….. there is an emptiness unfilled…. it is gift! That gift is really transformed into a silent and peaceful joy!