In Honor of My Father, Archie Lynn Lewis
Sing no sad songs for me. If tears must fall, let them create pools of joy in my memory. For my journey is ever onward and this place a gentle respite before we meet again on distant shores.
There is no one way to reflect on a life well lived. How does one sum up a lifetime? Do you start from the beginning remembering days of youthful glory, ambition and hope? Do you remember the challenges that every life must face? Or if you are fortunate, do you start from the wisdom only many years can bring? Everyone in this space today knew my dad in their own way. You all have your own memories that I hope you will cherish. But today I want to take a moment to tell you about the man I knew.
I have traveled the world and met royalty and countless dignitaries. But none ever compared to my parents. I never needed outside role models growing up because I needed only look to my father for guidance. Without ever saying a word, my dad taught me what it meant to study and work hard towards a goal and to never give up. It was my father who taught me how to command a room, what sophistication, refinement and decorum actually looked like. And of course, it was my dad who showed me that dignified men were always impeccably dressed. My dad could light up a room with his jokes and I often watched from the side admiring how funny he was and as my brother reminded me last night, he also never failed to let others know just how pretty he was. Let’s not forget my dad wasn’t simply a smart man, he was a trusted leader and that was the man I woke to every morning growing up or who was always a phone call away.
But above all this, there are few things more powerful than a parent’s love. And, “Let me make it abundantly clear” my dad LOVED me. My parents loved all of us immeasurably and I always knew from my earliest memories that I lived in a house filled with love. And it was because of that love, that protection, we were able to walk forth into the world.
As I live my life, I often think about my parents and the challenges they faced growing up black in America. What they overcame to not just live but to thrive and provide for their family. I think about my dad when I didn’t know him. I think of him as a young man and when I am most challenged, I remind myself that my father succeeded when the odds were against him. I remind myself that my parents are the American Dream.
So as this day drew near I chose to honor my father not by looking back at the past. No, I choose to look forward to honor and profoundly thank the soul I was blessed to know in this lifetime as my dad. What gives me comfort now is the image of my dad not as an old man, but as a timeless soul leaving for a journey, walking in moonlight, dancing among the stars.
So, on this day, sing no sad songs for my father. If your tears must fall, let them create pools of joy in his memory. For my dad’s journey is ever onward and he awaits to meet us again on distant shores.
Dad, your family loves you and I thank you from the depths of my soul for making me the person I am.