Father’s Day stirs mixed emotions.
On the one hand, I love being a father and always had. I became one quite early – I was only 20 when Elliott was born. I have loved every phase of fatherhood. Today, I have four living children and one with God. I’m grateful for all of them. Their personalities and life trajectories are quite different from one another, but I am proud of all of them. I love it when they call me. I love their expressions of love. I love who they are.
I honor my son Josh, who is probably the best father I’ve ever met. I honor my sons-in-law, also great fathers. I hope their kids recognize that.
I honor my father, now passed these many years. He gave me unique gifts and insights. He was a Naval officer in WW2, an oceanographer, a marine ecologist, a university professor and administrator, a skilled artist and woodworker/furniture maker, widely read, deeply educated, and good at most everything he did, from coaching baseball to gardening to building radios. He was quiet, introverted and deep. I miss him.
On the other hand, …
I’m very aware of the many people who had absent, abusive, neglectful, emotionally distant, or disconnected fathers. I realize that Father’s Day is painful for them, that it stirs up horrible memories in some cases and inflicts deep pain.
We refer to God as Father. That’s problematic for those for whom the word “father” elicits feelings of fear, hurt, neglect, anger, or sorrow. Even if you had a great dad, God is better. God is the ideal father – loving, kind, wise, understanding, forgiving, restoring, reconciling, healing, providing, protecting, gently correcting, transforming, teaching, guiding, and ever-present, ever-attentive. God’s love is unconditional. And God is nothing like those sires who neglect, abandon, or abuse their children.