Planting for the Future

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Years and years ago, before I can even remember, there was an big old tree near our family’s cemetery plot in Sheppton, Pennsylvania.  Eventually it died and a couple years later, a tiny sapling sprouted from the rotting wood.  My Dad nurtured that little plant, fed it, and with a fence, protected it from becoming a deer’s breakfast, as well as from cars and people trampling over it.  He even asked other friends and family to watch over it when he couldn’t make the long trip from home.

This weekend, it was about 15 feet tall and had all of its leaves holding onto its branches, glowing in bright shades of orange, looking over where my Dad’s body was laid to rest.

My dad knew how to create life – something that would grow and last.  Throughout his life, he planted trees and grass and bushes.  He took pictures of sunsets and nature, and family.  He encouraged thoughts and ideas, and relationships with family, and friends, and with God.  He took the time necessary, year after year, to make sure that what he started would last, and remain long after he was gone.

He showed me the beauty of a sunset.  He taught me about balance… that of riding a bike, and that of life; about appreciating what I have, and working for what I want; about respecting others, helping a friend, and taking care of family.

He taught me to ask questions, and to do the research before accepting the common consensus; to make my own decisions and not follow the crowd, unless they were already going in the same direction I decided to go.

He taught me how to fix things when they were broken; how to look at a machine and figure out how it works and how to repair it – and to try and make it better, even if nobody ask for it or would pay me to do it.

He taught me to love my neighbor as myself, and to have a relationship with God.

Who Stephen Swetz is for me is:

father
engineer
plumber
carpenter
mechanic
scientist
teacher
human database of knowledge
opinionated
strict
straight-forward
compassionate
loving
peace
a bright red sunset on a crisp clear evening
protector
mentor
caretaker
strength
made with TLC
a white beach hat, shorts and black socks
tennis player
little league enforcer
proud
planner
provider
Dad

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