Jun 18, 2017 filed under Living Virtue, Love.

use words if necessary

My friend Michael Clark is a lettering artist who wrote these beautiful words often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226). I asked Michael to write why these words are important to him so I could share both his artwork and his musings on the meaning.

Michael began writing about the making of the piece, remembering that he used a “no-nonsense” Parker fountain pen to create it – nothing fancy. Then something amazing happened. As Michael thought further, memories of his late father, Clarence, flooded into his mind. Then Michael realized that he loved the quote so much and had written it in a direct way because it described his father.

“He had a huge impact on me growing up, but the impact didn’t come from words, it came from example. Most of the time he did not have to say a thing. He was a tall, hulking man, whose silence spoke integrity and humility.

“I grew up in the 60s when Simon and Garfunkel sang about the sound of silence. I heard of monks taking a ‘vow of silence.’ The value of that was not lost on me because I lived with a man who could by virtue of his deeds speak volumes about kindness, caring, and love. Most people he helped never even knew he had ‘stopped by or stepped in.’ He just quietly went about doing what was right.”

Thanks for the reminder, Michael, that quiet virtue carries a powerful message of a father’s love that can last a lifetime.

Love always,

P.S. Find Michael at https://www.facebook.com/typerror/ or typerror.com

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4 Responses to “Quiet Virtues of Fatherhood”

    • Vanessa Parks

      Mr. Clark,
      It has been 17 years since the passing of my beloved father. I am most grateful to you for reminding me so humbly of my virtuous father who spoke very little. Yet those very precious childhood memories of his quiet and giving presence only serve me well to this day of his beautiful influence.

      God Bless
      Kyrie Eleison

  1. Tom Roberts

    My father was a Republican who didn’t have much good to say about the Democrats or the New Deal. Yet when I asked him if he was happy when President Roosevelt died he said “No, President Roosevelt was a great man.” I was five then and I began to understand about my father’s fairness and his generosity. Later when he ran a manufacturing company in Wisconsin all the workers got bonuses at Christmastime, equivalent to $3,500 today. One time when a truck driver forgot to set the emergency brake on his semi-trailer it rolled downhill and smashed through the brick wall of the boiler room. When my father went down to survey the damage the driver said “Doc, I just can’t do anything right since I got out of the )Korean) war.” My father replied “Stu, you just can’t let yourself think that way. Stu kept his job. It was the vote of confidence he needed.

    He was a scientist, but a scholar of the humanities. He studied Greek, Latin and Philosophy in college. From this comes all the elements of science, curiosity, study of all sides of a question and especially to know that you do not know.

    He was an atheist but admired devout people of all faiths. He watched all Bishop Sheen’s “Life is Worth Living” programs in the 50s. When I told him I was going to become a Catholic he encouraged me.

    His curiosity was contagious. At the dinner table I frequently ran to fetch the dictionary or encyclopedia when the conversation drifted to word meanings or topics in almost any field. His dinnertime discourse often ran beyond the boundaries of decorum. When I brought Sylvia, the woman who was to become my wife, to introduce to my parents, we went out to dinner. Somehow their conversation got into animal food processing in warm climates, drifting into the discussion of maggots, much to the disgust of my mother who interjected “Oh Willard!” It amused me tremendously and I knew Sylvia was the woman for me.


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