As I was cleaning out my parents’ house I found my father’s New Testament, the book he used to study to become a Eucharistic Minister. He had left a few sheets of paper inside with notes from his class and oddly, I had practiced my newly learned signature on one of the pages. I took the bible home and it sat on my shelf for a year unread.
About a month ago, I started reading it, slowly; I am still in the Gospel of Matthew. But I keep pulling out those sheets with my father’s notes. On one he wrote, “Jesus died a lonely man.” I feel my father’s sorrow each time I read that sentence. How very sad to think that one so revered had a lonely death, misunderstood by all around him. Each time I read it, I think of my father’s death. Once we understood he was dying, my father was never alone. We formed shifts without a schedule so that someone held his hand constantly. On one of his last nights of consciousness, he laughed and made jokes and reminisced. As he slipped into a morphine-induced sleep, he used his waking minutes to speak love. And, when he couldn’t open his eyes, we spoke love softly to him.
I don’t think my father felt lonely. I may never completely understand the man he was, but I understood the love he had for me and I was grateful for it. Am grateful for it.
Perhaps what Jesus needed was a wife and 10 kids, like my father.