“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. 24 All the trees of the forest will know that I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.“‘I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it. ’” Ezekiel 17:22-24
Reading this passage as lector during mass today, I could not help but think of my father, Riley. He was so much like the cedar tree in the reading. A farmer for most of my life, he planted vegetables that fed the family both at the table and by bringing in money, so today's reading and gospel were especially poignant to me.
I guess if dad was the cedar, that would make my seven sisters and I the fruit. In my mind, the birds would be the cousins who spend summers at our house, our many friends and our husbands.
Of course, at the time I was reading to the entire congregation. Thanks to my ADD, I managed without too many errors, but I could not think through the idea while reading aloud. When I did have the time this afternoon, my thoughts were mostly about my dad and the kind of person he was, his love for momma and us girls, his faith and integrity and pride. I am blessed to have known him and to have had the opportunity to learn from him.
I miss him terribly and this weekend has taken a toll my emotions, but the hurt and grief are signs of how much he has meant to us all. I can only hope I leave such a legacy.