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Blessed for a Reason

A daughter remembers how her father blessed the lives of others.

Students reading
Credit: Getty Images

The school where I teach has a room dedicated to my late father, John M. Allen. It is a space where students come for extra help and collaboration, to study and to read, to learn and be comfortable. My father taught for a few years early in his career, before I was born, at a school similar to this one, a private boarding school. He went on to be a writer and publisher, but always counted teaching as his greatest love.

I would argue that my father taught every day of his life, though his generosity of spirit, his kindness, his genuine interest in others, his curiosity about the world and how each of us has the opportunity, responsibility even, to do something with the gifts, talents and blessings we are given.  

This Sunday our minister gave a sermon titled, “Blessed for a Reason.” I could not help but think of my father and of how his life was a blessing to all who loved and knew him. He used his blessings—his love of life and family, books and writing, reading and discussion, sport and competition, raking of leaves and tending to fires, making others feel welcomed and valued—to enrich lives every day. Though he has been gone for 15 years, I still hear stories from people about how he quietly, yet impactfully, encouraged and supported them when they needed it. My father knew his blessings and was deeply grateful to God for them. God’s grace, given freely, was evident to my father, and he joyfully shared his blessings with the people whose lives intersected with his.

Blessings come to us in various forms and as the sermon title indicates, there is a reason behind this. We are to use these blessings to enhance our worlds and those in it however we can. We are to be the vehicle of these blessings, allowing our blessings to multiply beyond ourselves into the lives of others.  

The plaque outside the door of the room dedicated to my father reads, “John Milton Allen Reading Room: To honor a man who loved the written word and inspired us to be inquisitive and thoughtful.” Each day I see students in the Allen Reading Room being inquisitive, learning from wise and thoughtful teachers. I see students being challenged in their writing. I see students comfortable in a space of learning. I see my father’s blessings multiplying in the lives of the students and teachers. And I am reminded, every day, of the blessing my father was to me and how it is my joyful responsibility to carry on his blessings and to share my own.

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