My father never lived to see the ocean.  He died of cancer when he was 52, his long-postponed travel plans left undone.  Sometimes when I walk on the beach, I try to see the island from his eyes, as if I were showing it to him for the first time.  These beautiful shells, this view from the boardwalk, the dolphins at play, the pelican’s dive, the sand’s brilliance;  I name these things to myself and to him, as if he accompanied me. Surely we are the sum total of all who have loved us, and we take them with us through our subsequent life-walks.  I pray, Lord, that my father knows of my thoughts, that he enjoys our shared walks, and that the world he inhabits is a world of even greater beauty and perfection. I thank you, God, for giving me a loving father; I think you, Lord, for being a loving father. Amen.

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