I’m new to this blogging thing so if I have crossed some line by stealing someone else’s line and adapting it so that it becomes my line, please forgive me. If I haven’t crossed any line then all I have to say is, “what a great title, so well written you would swear it was a classic.” Stolen, modified, and repurposed all to describe last Sunday. Known to the previous generation as, smile no matter how ugly the tie you are given Day, the rest of us know it by a much simpler name, Father’s Day.
The biblical parallels are not difficult to find but are becoming more difficult to explain.
Daddy (Abba), Father in Heaven are terms used for God. An image that most likely falls considerably short of describing God while bringing us considerably closer in our understanding of The Most High, at least closer for those who have had a father figure that showed love and mercy like our God does.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? Luke 11:11-12 (NIV)
Many in Jesus’ time would have answered these questions with ‘my father wouldn’t do that.’ Today I think there would be a lot more people answering the opposite. Their ability to understand the illustration would be hindered by the fact that their father would most likely give them a snake or a scorpion.
Father’s Day brings out the best of times and the worst of times and sometimes both.
For some, Father’s Day is about the bad things that have happened. For others, the bad is hard to remember because the good was more prevalent. Still others find both are strong, neither is dominant, neither is a description of their relationship. For some of us our fathers are alive, others he is dead, and remainder don’t know, but all have an emotion attached to the relationship they have or haven’t had with their father.
Some wake up on Father’s Day wishing their father was still alive. A smile comes from the memories, a tear comes from lack of new memories.
Some wake up on Father’s Day wishing their father would come back. A smile of hope is all but gone because the reality is, he hasn’t been a part of their life for a long time, if at all.
Some wake up on Father’s Day wishing their father would die or at least go away. A smile only comes when they dream that their physical, sexual and/or verbal abuse will finally come to an end.
Some wake up on Father’s Day wishing they had met the right woman and had children. Their tears are masked by a put-on smile because guys don’t cry, at least they don’t let anyone see them cry.
Some wake up on Father’s Day wishing they were able to have children. It doesn’t matter why, blame or circumstance will never stop the tears.
Some wake up on Father’s Day hoping for a phone call or card, maybe even a visit from the son or daughter they haven’t seen in years. Their tears are held at bay by their hope, but as the hours go by the tears return and hope is lost.
Some wake up on Father’s Day wishing their child was still alive. A smile comes from the memories, a tear comes from lack of new memories. A parent isn’t supposed to outlive their children.
I am the father of eleven children but I have only met three of them.
It is not because of poor choices of my younger years or an insatiable appetite for sexual encounters in my twenties and thirties. I did not shirk my parental responsibilities to these eight children, nor did I run out on their mother. As a matter of fact, I am still with their mother and we have raised three wonderful children together. We have also mourned the loss of eight children who never took a breath. Our first pregnancy ended rather abruptly in miscarriage. Our second and third pregnancies resulted in two sons. One was a blue baby and almost died and both were induced because of danger to both my wife and them.
Our next seven children made it to various stages but none formed in the womb long enough to be viable. We were told by people that we should be happy that we had two healthy children, I know they were trying to help but it didn’t. I did not say it but I wanted to ask them if they would choose one of their children to be killed, after all at least they would still have other healthy children, and besides that, they would get to choose who died and still have happy memories, something we did not get.
My third son, our eleventh pregnancy, was born six weeks early to save my wife and his life. Her liver was failing and she was given a few days to live if she didn’t have the baby right away. His lungs were underdeveloped and his skin was not ready to have contact with the outside world. As my wife, our newborn son and I left the hospital one week later, the nurse stopped us and told us that they did not expect us to leave with a live baby. Our Doctor told us that this needed to be our last pregnancy ending our dreams of having six children.
Father’s Day for me is about my father who is still alive, my three grown sons, two of them now fathers themselves, my eight children I will never know, and most importantly, my Heavenly Father who has been there through it all.