“Some day,” Daddy used to say often as I was growing up, “I’m going to the Holy Land. I want to walk where Jesus walked.”
He talked about it a lot and dreamed about it even more.
In those days before the world was presented to us wrapped up in a passel of knowledge known as the Internet, Daddy bought big maps of the storied land. They were gingerly rolled up and tied with a ribbon after each time he spread them out on the kitchen table and studied them like a child studying a new game. Sometimes he carried the maps with him and showed them to other people, pointing out key points of interest in the life of Christ or the path the Apostle Paul had traveled. He treated them as a precious treasure and so they were. They represented his dream.
“How are you gonna get there?” my 12- or 13-year-old self asked at the time from the back seat of the car as he talked to Mama about it.
Daddy didn’t fly. He never stepped on an airplane in his life and wasn’t about to start, even for Jesus.
“I’ll take a ship,” he replied.
In World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific. So, he liked ships — not a boat, mind you — a lot. Planes, he reasoned, just weren’t necessary when you could drive, ride a train or a take a ship anywhere you wanted to go.
“Mark my words, I’m gonna see the Holy Land before I die. Some day,” he said often.
It is the only time he ever laid down a declaration with “mark my words” that it didn’t happen. I can’t tell you why he never went, except I suspect it had to do with the cost.
Whenever Daddy set his mind to something, he would work hard until the money had been earned to do it. However, it would have taken a lot of dollars to take a ship to the Holy Land. And probably, my Daddy, a survivor of what he often called ‘Hoover Days’ known to others as the Great Depression, just couldn’t justify the expenditure.
My parents, admirably now I realize, always lived as though another Depression lay just around the corner.
“What if times get hard again?” Mama asked repeatedly. “You gotta be ready.”
I suspect that’s why some day never came for Daddy’s trip to the Holy Land.
That makes me sad. He wanted it so much. He worked so hard. And he gave so much to those around him that he deserved to have that dream.
I wish I hadn’t been so caught up in my life that I didn’t realize one day he just stopped talking about “some day.” Though I was still struggling in those days, perhaps I could have persuaded him to keep looking forward to “some day.” Now, if he were still alive and wanted to go, I would give him my savings or work another job to make it happen.
I hate to say I didn’t realize then how much “some day” meant to him. But really? Isn’t it that way for us all? We each talk of something we’re going to do “some day.” Mama left me a few dollars she had squirreled away and now I have tucked them away, saying often, “Some day I’m going to use that money to put in a little waterfall on that hill behind the house so that every time I see it, I will remember how Mama flowed through my life.”
I’ve been saying that for five years now. Every spring that rolls around, I declare I need to do it. But I put it off until winter’s freeze rolls in and it’s tabled again.
I sure hope my some day doesn’t wind up like Daddy’s.
Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of There’s A Better Day A-Comin’. Visit www.rondarich.com to sign up for her free weekly newsletter.