“I wish I’d known my father,” she says. She often says it. I observe the longing in her eyes and the slump in her shoulders.
She’s a dear soul who deserves my most compassionate response. But I’m not certain how my words would affect her this Sunday afternoon, as it is Father’s Day – the day the rain falls with a vengeance and adds gloom to her sense of lost. She cries, which breaks my heart, as I listen to her describe what it feels like to be without a father.
I now have a deep desire to identify with her pain, to switch place with her and to carry her load, which drags me through the rafters of my mind and into the attic of my soul only to discover I couldn’t feel what she feels. She had heard me tell my father I loved him and had thanked him for being in my life.
I conclude in my heart, as I watch her wipe her tears with the back of her trembling hand, that fathers are important and a mighty pillar of strength to their children. Their presence, as well as their absence in the home must have some measure of impact. In my email box this morning I received a succinct message from a friend, which simply says, Happy Father’s Day, Jack, and beneath it was an inscription from Proverbs 17:6, in which I must have read a dozen times. The glory of children is their fathers.
My eyes water as I think about my eighteen-month-old son, who trots behind me from room to room, giggling as his tiny feet endeavors to catch up. He embraces me and says, “Dada”, in that sort of ‘I-really-love-you’ kind of way. In his little mind I wonder how much I mean to him. I wonder as he grows if this fascination would remain. I’m suddenly aware that I can help shape his destiny. I’m suddenly aware he trusts me and that whatever decision I make will somehow affect him.
I kneel in front of her and gently wrap my arms around her waist, feeling a drop of her tears cascading down my neck. She is pregnant with our second child. I feel a sense of obligation, a sense of pride, and love, which grips my soul so tight I feel as if I’m suffocating. She feels it too. She knows that I will be there for them, come what may, I will not abandon my family.
So kudos to all the fathers who are making it work; despite the odds against them!