Since Father’s Day is this weekend, I wanted to remember my father by posting here an Everyday Stewardship reflection I wrote for All Souls Day this past year. He was larger than life when he was with us, but I am thinking he is still quite a character in the after-life as well. With Love, Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
My mother died when I was thirty-one years old. My parents had been married for fifty-five years, and now my father had not only lost his wife, he had lost his identity. He had grown up with three siblings, but they were all deceased. He had been on disability for many years so he had no real job connections left. Yet the biggest part of this identity crisis was he had spent his life as an unbaptized believer.
His brothers and sister had been baptized, but he never knew why he had not. He lived his life feeling like a nobody, which led to drinking and other things lost people do. Whether he never felt good enough or at times didn’t care, he never sought out baptism all those years. Maybe he came to Mass with us once at Christmas. But now, he really felt the weight of his years of indecision. He was lost.
Eventually my father moved to be closer to me and began coming to church. After a year or so, he asked me about RCIA. So he began a process in which he probably only understood twenty-five percent of what he heard but he loved one hundred percent of the journey. At the age of seventy-five, Harold Welliver, Jr., was baptized and fully initiated into the Catholic Church.
He said this to me, which I will remember and quote forever: “I was someone who didn’t belong to anyone or anything, and now I belong.” Jesus says in John’s Gospel, “And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day.” My father passed away three years ago. I miss him every day. He is gone from this world, but he is lost no more.