Today is Father’s Day, a day on the calendar when we pause to say thank you to our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and other men in our lives who have influenced us and shaped us. I must admit that I struggle with days like today – no, not because I don’t have a good relationship with my own father. I certainly do. I am blessed to have two loving parents who nurtured me throughout my childhood and who are both still an important presence in my life, and who – amazingly in our broken world – are still married, to each other no less, and very much in love with each other. But I struggle with Father’s Day and other days that highlight or single out a particular relationship (like Mother’s Day, Grandparents’ Day, Valentine’s Day, Boss’s Day or any other Hallmark-influenced holiday) because I recognize that for some this is a day that is anything but happy. On this Father’s Day there are some who are grieving the absence of their own father. Whether that loss was recent or long ago, or whether the loss was through death or distance, Father’s Day reminds them that there is a hole; that something is missing. For others Father’s Day may signify a shattered dream or grief over a child who was never conceived or born; some are grieving over the death of a child. And still there are others whose father’s actions have left physical or emotional scars and painful memories. Indeed Father’s Day can be a day of mixed emotions for many. Now I am not suggesting here that we should abandon holidays like this, but I am saying that we should approach them with sensitivity to others whose experiences may be different than our own.
So for those who are hurting or haunted by bad memories, may you find hope and healing. For those who are grieving, may you find peace and comfort. And for those whose fathers (and other significant male figures) are still in their lives, may you recognize the blessings you have. Make the time to offer a word of appreciation.
Now I am going to follow my own advice … Dad, thank you for your love and encouragement from childhood till today. I am grateful for the gift of your presence in my life. I love you.
Until next time, peace …