Happy Father's Day, Dad!
Thank you for being a caregiver!
My dad's name was Reverend Charles P. Beronius, but to our family and those who knew him well, he was "Chuck" or "Pastor Chuck".
My father served as an ELCA Lutheran Minister for over 50 years– in fact, just a few months before he died, he was filling in for clergy at St. Benedict’s Senior Community on Easter Sunday, and left our family gathering for a few hours to preach. My mom said, "Your dad loves hospitals and nursing homes. He is always in them, going to visit, he is in his element there."
All pastors have their strengths and weaknesses and my dad’s strength was ministering to the sick and the dying. I have no way of knowing how many he ministered to – hundreds if not thousands of hands he held and souls he prayed with. Throughout the years, numerous times I ran into someone, at a community gathering or Kohls’ Department Store who knew my dad because he buried their parent or visited them in the hospital.
The life my dad chose was not without pain, however; ministering to the sick and weak can take its toll. Not a fire and brimstone speaker in the pulpit, Pastor Chuck was soft-spoken, had a bleeding heart, and some internal battles. He certainly did not come off as the strong type to others. Yet, I can think of no greater strength than the ability to care for others. The ability to walk into a hospital room with a dying patient, and look them in the eye and tell them they will be ok. To console a grieving family. To break the news to a family that their child has died, as my father did as a Chaplin in the Navy during the Vietnam War.
My father died five years ago at the age of 79. He fell and he bled. He bled from his heart, and then the God that my father taught so many about, took him by the hand and cared for him.
Happy Father’s Day in Heaven, Dad ~ I know you are there.