I miss you dad, and Happy Birthday.
Growing up I was always excited that we shared a birthday month. I knew it didn’t really mean anything, but it was one of the many ways I felt close to you. This year I’ve been thinking about you more than in years past. There have been more moments when I wish I could ask your advice, or just talk about random stuff. But it has gotten me reflecting on how much has happened since you passed. There has been a lot in our life.
You missed me graduating with my Masters of Divinity. I know you would have been proud of me to be the first person in the Prins family to get a masters (let alone to graduate Magna Cum Laude). There are many conversations I wish we could have had during my time in school, and since. I wish you could see the life that Jordan and I are continuing to create in France. I think you would be excited to see me become more vocal against all forms of violence (I remember the intentionality of growing up without guns, without any military or violent toys, your objection to the Vietnam war [plus getting deferments until the war ended], your frustration over being misled about the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, and that you disliked guns so much you stopped/wouldn’t go hunting).
I remember walking the library at USC with you and seeing you pick up a greek text you remembered studying during your classics/philosophy degree at the UofM. I remember saying at the time that I could never learn greek, and you told me that I could if I wanted too. At the time I struggled with the basics of French in High School, and now I live in France and have a mastery of that same ancient greek you were being nostalgic over (plus I’ve been improving my Latin and Hebrew – HS Paul wouldn’t understand that I can work with 5 literary languages). I wish I could see you read the translations of scripture I am leading. You had gotten so much better at articulating how proud of me you were as I ventured into things you knew you could never do. I miss that voice of yours.
There is more that we had shared in confidence that I cannot write here. But I do wonder how you would have continued to grow, to wrestle with the need for inclusion and acceptance of those who are different in background or belief. You were proud of your acceptance of people of different faiths, backgrounds, ethnicities, and would at times confront those who were close minded and bigoted. I wonder a lot about what you would have to say right now with the US political landscape. I remember hearing you near yelling at Senator Coleman over the phone one time when he called because he wasn’t thinking of all Minnesotans/Americans around some policy issue.
I know you loved me, and you often spoke at great lengths about how proud you were of the direction my life was going in. A legacy you saw starting with your mom Dorthy growing and expanding through me. She fought hard to for a seat at the table in her day, and I continue to fight against those who long to exclude people. Most of all I hope that you feel honored by the work we are doing.
Happy Birthday Dad.