Father's Day is almost here. Some of you will take your father to dinner or a baseball game. Some will panic. Some will feel guilty. Some will go to the cemetery with flowers. Some will send a sentimental card with sincerity. Some will turn away from thirty minutes at the card rack empty-handed and sad.
I know. Don't we all know? I am here at fish camp, in Alaska, a place my father never came to visit. He never visited me at all, not once. There are so many things I would have shown him, had he come, had he eyes to see and a mind to care . . . Look, Dad, I would have said:
It's the first week of fishing. It's been nasty all week.
Here are the eaglets I get to watch:
Look, their father is bringing them more fish for dinner!
A fin whale washed up on the beach last spring. Here is all that is left:
See the love in my house, Dad?
I cannot say any of these things to him---my father is gone now. But I have learned from him some things I'd like to pass on to you, if I may . . . Perhaps your father is here?
Some fathers cannot converse.
Some fathers cannot wonder.
They are so full of certainty and their own solved life they have no strength to break free into another's life, or to see the riot of stars and whitewater rivers, the eaglets on the cliff, the spider web outside their office window. Allow yourself to still speak your questions and your wonder around him.
Some fathers cannot praise.
They are too angry at themselves and all the ways their life has gone wrong, they cannot find words to speak the good they see in you. But you know many words of praise. On Father's Day, speak one of these to them.
Some fathers cannot laugh.
They have seen war, or too much bourbon or boredom, or too many highway miles, or too many headlines, or too much medication. Tell them about your promotion and the funny mixup at the swimming pool today. When you laugh, you help them remember.
Some fathers cannot believe.
They lost their faith along the stony, narrow way. The Church was petty, the boss was vindictive, the divorce was bitter, the son's loss inexplicable, the Christian friends silent and absent. Visit and call as often as you can. Let them see faith wearing flesh and presence.
Some fathers cannot hope.
They cannot imagine a life beyond the room and house and job they are living. They cannot see anything but decay and loss ahead. They cannot imagine heaven or a God who could love them. Make them their favorite cake and sit and watch a movie with them.
Some fathers cannot love.
They cannot for more reasons than you will know. But, wondrously, you have found so much love in your life, you give it away for free and it does not run out. Let him see this in you.
But these are not all fathers. Some have taught their sons and daughters all these things: conversation, wonder, laughter, faith, hope, love, and praise. Joy to you all!
For the rest of us, and we are many, we have learned no less from ours---we have simply learned from another Father, the one we will see face to glorious face when we are done. Now, we're given the chance to pour out all our Father has given us upon these fathers, who are yet as needy and starved as we once were. If we have yet to do this, Father's Day is a good day to begin even one of these.
Do this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost,
all of whom name you, already,
with one voice,
My precious son,
My righteous, beautiful daughter,
My Beloved Child.
**I pray you find a word of hope and help here. If these words are meaningful to you, would you consider sharing them with friends? I am ready to send out 5 books
) just in time for Father's Day. If you share this, please let me know, and (let me know your email address at the same time) and hopefully you'll win one!
May God enlarge every heart this Father's Day!