As most of you are aware, This Sunday is Father’s Day.
Some may look upon this as a Hallmark holiday, but the idea of celebrating fathers was actually created by a thoughtful daughter for her beloved Pop in the early 1900’s. It was born out of a desire to honor her dear ol’ dad, who single handedly raised her and her five siblings after the death of their mother.
While it wasn’t ‘officially’ a thing until President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers in 1966, it was widely accepted and celebrated before that. Eventually, it was cemented into our culture in 1972 when Nixon signed it into the books as a permanent, national holiday.
Regardless of how it all began, people have different perspectives and emotions about the third Sunday each June. For some, it truly is a chance to recognize and celebrate Dear Ol’ Dad. An opportunity to show love and appreciation for the guy who has been there for you and always will be.
But, for others it’s a source of sorrow because dad is no longer with them. The sweet memories remain but the day itself is bittersweet, punctuated by loss.
Then there are those who find Father’s Day to be a painful reminder of a relationship they never had. For some, the term ‘dad’ reminds them of harm experienced at the hands of a father or father figure. (If this is you, may I say, I relate. And I'm so sorry.)
While still others are relatively numb or neutral about the day, not really having a dad to celebrate nor a context in their life for which to put a father.
When it comes to my personal experience of Father’s Day, I would say my life has spanned the gambit of emotions.
As a child, there were a few years to celebrate a dad with poems that didn’t rhyme and wonky, handmade coffee cups or pen holders that would neither hold liquid nor pens. But the older I got, the less of a ‘father’ presence I had in my life.
Eventually, it became a day I normally distracted myself from.
Until I got married.
It was a welcome occurrence to have not only my wonderful husband to celebrate on Father’s Day but my sweet father in law as well. They were a place I could focus my attention and affections on.
It was enough to make me forget about the father-void in my own life.
The truth is, on most Father’s Days I would wonder about who my ‘real’ father was and on chance meetings with strangers who I somewhat resembled, who offered the briefest of connection, I would secretly wonder “what if that guy was actually my father?”
But maybe not.
What if those musings were actually an indication that we are created to know where we came from.
Where we belong.
Who we belong to.
Then there was the idea of God as Father. I heard many people talk about the concept. In fact, I even grew up with a marred version of that terminology. But I didn’t have much context for it in a practical sense.
I could get it in theory, but my lack of attachment to an actual flesh & blood dad made it a challenge to grasp an untouchable one.
What I failed to see at the time was that it could be a beautiful and real relationship.
That it could be trusted.
That HE could be trusted.
But again, no context.
As I got older and fell deeper in love with Jesus, I pieced together a context for Father God. I began to see what others meant by a ‘personal and loving relationship’ with Him.
I finally experienced true relationship with my heavenly Father.
My earthly father? Not so much.
(I wish we had the time and space to explore the how’s and why’s of it all, but for blogsake, we only have a little space left!)
Let me just say, my heavenly Father lead me to my earthly father. I know, that might sound crazy or weird and super-spiritual and magical and all, but you know what?
Perhaps someday we can chat over the details of it all. Then you’ll say “that IS crazy and magical!”
But for now, what I can share is that this year, Father’s Day holds new promise and meaning for me.
And what I thought I understood about my heavenly Father pales in comparison to what He teaches me through my earthly father.
All. The. Time.
I guess you could say, I’m the one who got the gift this Father’s Day.
Speaking of gifts, I asked my dad what he wanted from me for Father’s Day this year.
He got really quiet for a minute, then with a low, shaky voice he said “I think I’m all set as a dad, now that I have you.”
And just like that, another lesson learned.
Oh, how my Father (both of them) loves me.