I pity the father whose children always speak of him
as “the old man.” Yes, he is old; yet it was but yesterday
he was young and buoyant, and life looked bright before him. To-day his
step is feeble and uncertain, his frame has lost its vigour, his eye is
dim; he sits alone in the corner; he hears joyous voices around him, and
their cries awakens sweet memories in his now sad heart.
He is again a child at his mother’s knee, and his
mother’s love encircles him – her soft hand rests upon his
forehead as he murmurs his evening prayers. A little later, and her blessings
follows him as he goes forth into the world to make for himself a name
and place therein. With strong and manly arms he toils till success crowns
his efforts – a home and fireside of his own are won. Love lights
up his humble abode – loved one kneels beside him around the family
Time passes. His heart is gladdened with the prattle
of his first born. He remembers – oh! how short a time it seems!
– when that little heart beat lovingly against his own, and how
proudly he watched the expanding of that budding intellect. Oh! what can
he not do and endure for his boy – his Willie?
Years pass, and other heart-treasures have brightened
his home, some of whom were among the “early called,” and
beside their little graves is a larger one now. The best-loved –
she who walked by his side, making lighter every burden and sharing every
joy – she, too, has left him for ever. He is alone now – only
his children’s love is left him. On them he leans – to them
he turns for solace and comfort for a little while. But alas! To them,
who he loved and toiled for and cherished so tenderly, he is only “the
old man!” He knows this – knows he is an intruder in the home
of his first-born! No wonder the tears start as he sits in the corner;
no wonder he longs to rest with the dear departed. May God pity him, and
comfort him with His love, which is the only all-enduring.