As I was growing up, one of the things that my father was known for was his love for music. He sang and played an instrument called an “oud” which was a lute-type, pear-shaped stringed instrument. He was a Lebanese immigrant and both he and my mother held on to their Lebanese customs and traditions when they moved to America. One of my father’s passions was his love for music and song writing.
The love songs, which he composed, were always about three main topics, the love of God, the love of country and the love that he felt for me, my mom, siblings or friends. Some of his songs described the beauty in nature and others were about the beauty he saw in the person he was singing about.
His songs described what he considered physical beauty like a smile, sparkling eyes, or long flowing hair. Other times he sang about the beauty that comes from a heart such as generosity and kindness. Whenever he sang about me or one of my siblings, we were always flattered, but I felt as if he didn’t see who we really were although he insisted that he saw all those qualities that he sang about in us.
What I didn’t realize was that my dad was seeing us in a way that the world doesn’t. He was there as we were growing up and he saw our mistakes as well as our accomplishments. He felt the pride and joy that we brought him, and he witnessed the effort that we put into trying to be better people. He was not looking just at our outward appearances, but rather deep inside of us and all the things that made us who we were. He saw the kindness that we brought to others, the generosity that we were sharing, and the faith that was growing within us. He saw the love of music that he instilled in us and the desire to make others happy.
I’ve often compared my father’s way of seeing us to how God sees us. Only God is able to really see us as we are. He sees our strengths and weaknesses, our honesty and dishonesty, and yet He still loves us and sees the good in us and the potential to be better people.
My father always saw the good in others, and that’s probably why others saw the good in him. He was given 85 years of life and he filled those years with songs and joy.
If I could write a song that I could sing about my father, it would be about his love for God, love for his country, and love for all those around him. I can even visualize him sitting there smiling as he played his oud proudly while I sang it. Then he would turn to me and say, “Now THAT is a love song. I’m very proud of you.” He sang his beautiful love songs throughout the years, but he is still singing in the hearts of all those that he touched with his music and kindness.
What songs do you sing? Are they songs of praise and worship? Are they songs that are patriotic and show love for your country? Or are they songs that build up those around you? A song may only last for a few minutes, but it’s effects can last a lifetime.