It’s not flesh and blood, but the heart of a man that can make him a father.
(adapted from Johann Friedrich Schiller)
A few truly wonderful men are sewn into the tapestry of my life…my husband, my father, my brother…and yesterday, I felt the awesome blessing of their special presence in my life. They are all still here, they’re healthy, and full of life.
Sunday, on father’s day, my father asked me to take a hike with him–just me and him–father and daughter. How can I pass up this beautiful moment? My father wants to spend time with me and do something that we both love to do. Not only that, but I remind myself that THESE very moments are one of the main reasons that we moved back to my hometown for… to have opportunities with family that would not be possible anywhere else. A spontaneous hike. A 3-hour window of alone time so my mother can take my daughters swimming on this sunny, warm day. A lazy picnic dinner with my brother and his family. A last minute meeting with an old friend needing someone to listen. These are the things! The things that make our hearts beat into our bodies vibrantly alive. They are fueled from the unexplainable magic of love and relationships.
Love. Relationships. Magic. The magic and love that relationships place generously into our lives is truly everlasting. We may feel full of love in this moment or not much at all. There may have been time periods in our lives where our relationships were thriving–full of love and positive energy. On the flip side, there are the draining times too–where we feel like all of our relationships are sucking us dry or falling apart. But they will always be redeemed with new relationships that we are not yet aware of and the positive memories from past ones will come back to fill our minds. We will never lose these. Our love-full memories (whether past or present or future) will always be with us.
Memories have a way of stirring up the energy of our innermost being… the part of our hearts that cannot be explained. That secret place that holds the diamond of life–divine love. Last year, two people very close to me lost their fathers too soon and too fast. It was devastating. This year, a few more lost their fathers around me. These times are hard to grasp and time and patience are sometimes the only things that will reveal any good in a situation.
Then there are the fathers were not around, were gone in early childhood, or significantly altered the course of their family later in life because of negative actions. It’s hard to acknowledge that we are all born of flesh and blood, therefore we all make mistakes. To err is human, is it not? (“To err is human; to forgive, divine.” – Alexander Pope) But it’s so easy to forget.
To forget that we are all human and that to forgive, divine power is needed… divine NOT in the sense that ‘we are divine because we forgive,’ but in the sense that in order to forgive, we must invoke a divine power of love and understanding. Understanding that we cannot comprehend–that we are all on equal playing ground. We are all born with a heart of love, but it is upon this earth that it becomes tainted, burdened, and overwhelmed with the realities of earthly things… evil. sin. brokenness. To truly accept that ‘we are all human, therefore make mistakes,’ would actually mean that we could easily relate to the mistakes of others because we are all imperfect people. (“…let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” -John 8:7)
But sometimes, that is impossible on our own. We cannot relate. We cannot fathom the things of this earth and the things humans do. So, that’s where the divine comes in. In order to aid us in breaching the boundaries of earth, we need to reach out to something not of this earth. To grasp for an understanding of forgiveness is to grasp for full and complete trust in something beyond human capabilities.
Trust that there is a divine power whom understands ‘why bad things happen to good people’ and is always available to us. It really sucks, though…waiting to figure out WHY? (which is usually always far, far off in hindsight) Why something happened the way it did or why someone did the things they did. The divine that works all things for good in His timing and His process is ours and we are his. Like a good fatherly figure, this unconditional love surrounds us.
Can we rethink Father’s Day and remember to honor any man whom has been or is a steadfast father figure and role model in our lives? Any man whom has:
…guided our path without judgement.
…stepped up to the plate to inspire and teach when no one else would.
…loved as best as they could despite our and their shortcomings.
…tried hard to give even just a part of their lives as a good father
…made an effort to love and give, even when it was hard for them.
…provided support and wisdom that was priceless.
…forgiven us for our mistakes and continued to love.
And also to honor an unconditional “love-full” divine father…
the one father whom sets the diamond standard for all that is right in a father.
May THAT father of unconditional love be a guide for all fathers and father figures everywhere and may we be eternally thankful for the fathers and men whom set a stellar example.