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"Is Your 'Presence' Felt By Others?"

It's not too often that we find photos of dad with his family because, most often, he was the one holding the camera and taking the picture. This was a hobby of his. He loved capturing his family doing everyday tasks. If you came to our home, you would see his work all over the walls.

I have that same love too. I enjoy taking photos, but I especially love capturing natural settings. I think there is so much to see and experience in life and our creation reflects how creative our God truly is. I believe heaven will look somewhat like our earth, but it will be so much more. One can only imagine.

This particular image captured the joy Kristian, Tad, and I felt when dad was around. I was around twelve years of age. Thus, Kristian would have been eight and Tad four. If I recall, this was taken shortly after coming home from church. Whenever we were together, there was a sense of fun shared and experienced as a family.

That's why my father's absence is felt each day. It's amazing how one life can make that much of a difference. Even with my extended time away in academia, my parent's presence was always a big part of my life. To this day, I still miss getting phone calls from mom and dad on the weekend. And then during the week, I miss receiving e-mails from dad from NYU. Often he would send something encouraging or share something he read in scripture or just something hilarious. Other times, he would express how proud he was of me, even when I felt I didn't deserve such love. His presence definitely empowered me to be who God called me to be and then stick with that purpose.

Today, as I sit in my fathers office and write this entry, I wish I could be with him in person. I wish I could take him to lunch and update him on our lives. I wish I could ask him how he was doing, even though we trust he's doing far better now that he's in the presence of Christ - a mystery we can't even comprehend at this stage. But even though his absence at home is significantly felt, we must move forward and develop our own "presence/aroma" in the lives of others. Let me explain..

When I was a young child, my father traveled quite extensively. Often, he would be away for 2-3 weeks at a time and, boy, did I miss my dad. I remember receiving those long distance phone calls and asking, "When are you coming home?" He would say, "Very soon." And then, when he came home, I would rush down the stairs and run into his arms. My father was finally home and I was so excited to see him. I wanted him to play with me. I wanted to show him what I was doing. Now I feel like that little boy again, wanting him home so we can catch-up and share our lives.

I want my presence to have a similar effect on others. I want my presence to be felt by my family. With my future wife and children, I look forward to coming home from work and hearing my wife say, "It's so good to have you home...I missed you." Offering a hug and a kiss, I will express those same feeling to her. And with my children, I anticipate coming home and being with them. I want to see how their day was and what they learned at home or at school. I want to get in their sandbox and get dirty. I want to go biking with them. I want to go swimming and camping with them. Other times, I want to watch a movie them them. Why? Because I want my presence to remind them of their inherit value and worth to me. I will love them with everything I can offer up and, with God's grace and constant instruction, he will help me succeed in being a faithful husband and a loving father.

We must realize that our true worth only comes from our walk with Christ. But I also believe God created the family institution as an environment for his love and grace to be felt and lived out. Just saying the words, "I love you" can make such a difference in a child's life and overall development. And the same goes for a spouse sharing one's heart to the other. But besides our words, our lives must live out what we say.

Dad, I miss your presence in my life. I wish I could go for a walk with you at Caumsett State park like we used to do. I miss seeing "Joe Agoglia" in my inbox. I miss hearing your voice on my answering machine. I miss dreaming with you and being inspired to live a life dedicated to the Lord. Plainly stated, as I grow each day, may your presence also be a part of my presence, just as I desire Christ's presence (in me) to be felt by others.