All children are unique in their own way. Ours are no different. Jamila is unique in her passion to help others find their true selves. Jessica defaults to beautifying the world and reconciling people. David composes melodies and lyrics that heal the soul. Then there’s Daniel. Of his repertoire of talents, Daniel has the ability to focus his powers of attention on the moment, and that in turn means he lives—and I mean pours life into and draws life out of—“the moment.”
When he becomes engrossed in something and locks his attention on it, it doesn’t matter what mayhem is transpiring around him, he’s oblivious to it. Nothing matters so long as he’s fixated on an object that captures his interest. He doesn’t need to eat or drink or go to the bathroom when he’s in ‘the moment’. He doesn’t hear people speaking or notice what else is going on in the world.
Daniel inherited a diverse set of natural capacities and a wild imagination. When he was young there was no telling what his imagination was up to. It might be art. It might be constructing some amazing contraption from Lego pieces. It might be music.
I remember giving him his first Etch-a-Sketch. Your typical youngster with his first Etch-a-Sketch might draw a smiling sun with a straight line horizon and stick figure people with x’s for eyes. Daniel managed medieval castles with moats, drawbridges, towers with knights in armor firing arrows from their crossbows at fire-breathing dragons flying overhead. As a toddler he was almost always dressed up for some role—a famous Cowboy fighting “wabbos” (robbers), or a Knight with sword and armor, or perhaps Superman flying off the top bunk. You never knew what he was recreating the outside world to be inside his head. As he grew he got into disciplined piano lessons, singing, teaching voice and piano, and right up to the present day there’s a steady stream of beautifully haunting piano melodies that flows from him.
I hope you enjoy the final poem, for our final Daniel.
What Mysteries Lie Within Your Name Concealed
Daniel, what mysteries lie within your name concealed,
And what history therein yet to be revealed—
Playful were all your steps when first they led you on your way,
And bold the dreams you dreamt ‘ere on cartooned sheets you lay.
Every floor beneath your feet a path of war became,
Where playful toys and brandished steel, transformed into the same,
Slew enemies who, dressed for war, leapt from your mind’s own page,
Fell beneath your conquering will and bowed to sooth your rage,
Where at last you stood, though scarred and bruised, the winner,
Held out your sword to speak just as Mother called for dinner.
And thus your years have been a mixture of the two, each a side of the same:
Unyielding fantasies your art—realities of daily life the frame.
And as the two converge in you neither denies the other,
And none can boast delight in this affair more than your father.
But to what more do you compare? To oceans far from home,
Whose currents deep and unaware flow quiet and alone;
Their steady force secrets bear and in their depths they hide
Mysteries of both form and light which few have ever spied,
Where they beneath the currents of your deepest dreams do rest,
And there await the sunlit sky to see at your request.
From your first days imaginations filled your every thought
Of treasures to be found which others had not sought;
And as you grew ‘neath shadows which your older siblings cast,
You sought a place under the sun so as not to be thought last;
But last you never were, nor shall you ever be,
So long as ‘neath the Son’s warm rays you stand and let all see
You cast shadows of your own, my son, and lead us out of sorrow.
Release the sea’s deep mysteries and take us to tomorrow.
And when the sun at last is set, and when the world is healed,
All will see what mysteries lie within your name concealed.