Sunday, June 19, 2011

For the Fathers, their Children, & the Fatherless Everywhere

June 19th.
Father's Day.

Many a month since my last post -- a fun, playful video indeed. This post is a turn back to a topic on which I have written a fair amount.

I'm thrilled, very much thrilled, for those who are posting pictures on Facebook. These are the picture of my friends as kids with their dads. I'm sure the dads appreciate older pics when they looked, well, younger and more like dads instead of grandpas. A caption I appreciated was "My father. My hero." I honestly think it is wonderful to see children praise their fathers today.

This, as you may be aware, is much more difficult for me. Each year Father's Day comes and I delve into a world of deeper reflection. I'm going to spare you the details of that reflection today. In short I am reminded -- as a necessity, as much as I need air and food today -- that God is my true, heavenly Father through Jesus Christ his One True Son. J.I. Packer has written somewhere,
What is a Christian? The richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as Father.
I have been blessed with many male mentors along the way. This day reminds me of that as well. But the absence of my earthly father is a fundamental void in my life and the lives of millions of other children in America this very minute. Our response to this fatherlessness is vast and varied. The picture I paint in my mind of what my life would look like if I did not know Jesus and thus did not know God as Father is not particularly frightening, but is one of a man truly empty and striving in life to gain the nod of approval and flash of a smile from the old man who was never willing to be there to do either. Those moments exist today, but they are fleeting. Each day I grow more and more firm in my eternal identity as a son of God.

This leads me to the real reason why I am writing in the first place. I hope you have made it this far. Perhaps this should have fronted my post, but oh well. I'm currently reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It is written, as far as I can tell, as extended letter of a dying father to his young son. The following two paragraphs should be read intently by every father and child. Fathers: It is my hope that you look at and love your children in this way. Children: It is my hope that you know you are looked at and loved this way by your fathers. The fatherless of this world -- which, truly, we all are in some way -- can rest assured that this is a glimmer of God's love for us:
I'd never believed I'd see a wife of mine doting on a child of mine. It still amazes me every time I think of it. I'm writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you've done in your life, and everyone does sooner or later, you have been God's grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem to you to be no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you.
There's a shimmer of a child's hair, in the sunlight. There are rainbow colors in it, tiny, soft beams of just the same colors you can see in the dew sometimes. They're in the petals of flowers and they're on a child's skin. Your hair is straight and dark, and your skin is very fair. I supposed you're not prettier than most children. You're just a nice-looking boy, a bit slight, well scrubbed and well mannered. All that is fine, but it's your existence I love you for, mainly. Existence seems to me now the most remarkable thing that could ever be imagined. I'm about to put on imperishability. In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye.
Happy Father's Day.

By His Grace.

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