Friday, October 20, 2006

Spiritual Fathers

I’ve been a Christian long enough to have had the privilege of being both a spiritual son and a spiritual father. Like natural sons, spiritual son want to spend time with their spiritual fathers. They desire and in some cases desperately need to have their spiritual father’s undivided attention. Special time; time alone to talk, time to listen, time to watch and time to learn.

My spiritual father is Rev. John P. Nyhan. John pastors the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, in Maitland, Florida. We served the Lord together for almost eight years in Brooklyn, NY & Franklin Square, LI. Those were great years for me. John played the role of the wise older brother, excellent teacher and friend. I adequately filled the role of younger student, hungry, eager to learn and serve.

Through those years John was God’s hands molding me on the potter’s wheel. More often than not those hands were holding mine as we prayed for our church and our families. Sometimes those hands were holding the steering wheel as we traveled to a conference or some special event together. Often those hands sat across a table from me enjoying a breakfast, lunch or dinner together. Over meals John would laugh and speak passionately about faith, politics or the Red Sox. His vast intelligence meant that there was always something else for me to glean from this gifted man of God.

Now, I’m not sure that I can adequately offer my spiritual sons the same high level fathering that was offered to me but, I am giving it my best shot. My palm pilot is filled with daily appointments to meet for breakfast, coffee, lunch, more coffee or dinner. Some late night connection might include a fine wine and a hunk of flavorful cheese. Each appointment, day or night includes me and one of these people I love so dearly. We talk about family, children, work, church and faith. We share life, the good and bad stuff. We dream, we challenge, we encourage. We embrace and we agree to meet again soon. The circle of life continues.

I love doing to them what John did to me and even more so… I was made for this.

Father, bless John wherever he is today! May my life honor his by the young people I father in the same way he fathered me, amen.

© Tom Zawacki 2006


  1. Spiritual fathers are a wonderful thing. It's amazing how their sons grow up and sometimes surpass them.

  2. Anonymous7:40 PM

    Tom Yea I know all bout the spiritual fathers I have had some of the best... And I have to agree with you,,, Thanks Man you are greatly appreciated.