When I was growing up my parents were always early risers. I don't think I can recall ever being awake before either one of them - they were usually up and doing long before any of us kids. My favorite memories are from those times when I would wake up in that window of time when they had already woken, but had not begun the practical business of the day. There was silence as they each said their prayers and read from the Bible. My dad would light incense and stand before the icons, the only light coming from a single candle before the icon of Christ. My mom would sit with her big blue Bible and read and pray. Sometimes they were still half asleep. Sometimes my siblings or I would come out of our room before they had finished. We would get a smile, maybe a quiet greeting, but we knew to wait before trying to talk to them. This was a sacred time. It was a time set apart for the Lord. It never mattered where we were or what was going on in the life of our family - every single day was begun this way. Every single day is still begun this way in their home. Each day was sanctified.
The following poem was inspired by the shining example of my parents who, in living their whole lives for Christ, have inspired me to live my own life for Him and to try my best to raise my children in His service as well. The bar has been set high, and more often than not I fail to reach it, but by the grace of God I pray that someday I too might be like my parents.
Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!
The Prayers of Parents
A flaming candle in the dark,
The smell of incense burning marks
The new day's beginning.
A prayer murmured under breath,
A Bible's pages turning, bringing death
To the old man being made anew.
From chaos deep too black to bear
Brought into Light by Him whose fair
Countenance beheld is pure delight.
Two lives transformed bear witness to
The glorious power of the only True
Being; Who out of love wills man to live.
And now these hearts renewed by faith
And brought together by God's grace
Begin to shine: a bright light burning.
A light whose rays on young lives shed
Illumines bright the path to tread
If Light, and Life Itself, be their desire.
This image of a family
And what it is that parents be
Imprinted irrevocably on the fruit of their union.
And thus with grateful heart I try
To imitate what once I spied
In moments sacred offered to God alone.
And now my task becomes to shine
His radiance upon small hearts of mine
That they too might turn and seek their Maker.