As Father’s Day draws to a close, I can’t tell you how many times today I have gotten a little teary-eyed when my thoughts wandered where they were inclined to wander on this holiday. I know I’m getting more emotional the older I get, probably because I understand more about what is important. I also have a greater sense of how fleeting this life is and all the little moments that comprise it.
As my Facebook news feed filled with photos of dads, granddads, sons and daughters, I couldn’t help but reflect on my family line. I recall with love and great appreciation my grandfathers – each very different, yet loving toward our family and me. I appreciate my late father-in-law who knew more about more subjects than I will ever know. He was a great handyman – something I have never come close to being.
And then there is my Dad. Words cannot express the depth of respect and love I have for Dad. He is the picture of integrity. If he tells you he will do something, you can take it to the bank. I don’t know anyone who works harder or who is willing to give more from a generous heart than him. He is a rock (and as stubborn as one at times). It is impossible to explain how important he is to our family. He has been my hero for longer than I can recall. I cannot imagine life without him.
When my Father’s Day thoughts turn to my sons, I am thankful for the 33+ years of fatherhood and for all they have taught me along the way. I think (briefly) about what I wish I had done different in raising them, but I know better than to dwell on the past. I focus, instead, on the countless blessings that have characterized my life and the promising future ahead. Each son is very different and unique. Each lives a very different life. A father’s love is still somehow magically, evenly distributed between his children, as he appreciates each for his unique qualities.
A couple of nights ago I watched the television show 20/20 on ABC – an episode called “With Parents Like These.” One of the mothers interviewed had left her husband and two children to move from Pennsylvania to the west coast to live what I consider to be an incredibly selfish and irresponsible life. When the interviewer asked her if she loved her children more than herself, the mother asked, “Should a mother love her children more than herself?” My immediate answer was “Yes!” Without thinking, parents should should love their children more than themselves. (That love should begin in the womb, by the way – a love that would have prevented 55 million abortions since Roe v. Wade.)
The random, emotional moments for me throughout this day come as I ponder:
- a time without all of us still here;
- eternal, spiritual matters and the job I have or haven’t done to guide us in matters of eternal consequence;
- what role I can still play, how I can make a difference, what my legacy will be;
- how and why my heavenly Father loves me with a perfect love and models for me the kind of father I need to be.
I’ve learned more from my father than I have the sense to apply. I’ve learned more raising my children than I ever expected. I’ve learned more from my heavenly Father than I have the right to expect.
On this Father’s Day, I am overwhelmed with how blessed I am, and I am thankful.