Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fatherhood revisited

Though happy chance, my father is here in Campbell Hill along with my mother this Father's Day. It's been over a year since we've been able to see him, as his new knees kept him from traveling and we had concerns that the Terrors--er, Twins--would be rough on him during his recovery. My dad turned 65 this past year, and it's so strange seeing him age. At 36, I am now the same age he was at when I really started paying attention and remembering things in detail. I remember how, even then, he seemed to be easygoing and had a simple confidence and competence. (How I wish I had received that as a genetic inheritance!) My father has always been a cornerstone in my life, and I pray he is able to continue in that role for some time to come.

The same day I became a husband, I also became a father. Or maybe I became a father seven years ago yesterday, the day I asked Faith to marry me. Alexis was 6 when I met her, and though I had been working with kids since I was pretty much still a kid myself, being a father is something different. Every day since I began to think about asking Faith to marry me, I've tried to figure out the job description of a father. Every day I try to figure out how to be the best father I can be. Every day I look at the kids and try to figure out how God could entrust them to a man with so little patience and skill. As always, God knows what He's doing, but He hasn't explained everything to my satisfaction! Nevertheless, my children have been a great gift from God to me, surpassed in earthly matters only by the gift of my wife.

Watching my own bumbling attempts at fatherhood has helped me to appreciate all the more the heavenly Father. He has marked me as His own child (I gladly say it!) in the waters of Holy Baptism. He has given me all that I need to support this body and life. When in my human weakness I give half-hearted thought to sacrificing my kids to the gods of peace and quiet, it is comfort and joy that the Father spared Abraham's Isaac and my own children and even me, sacrificing instead His own Son, Jesus, for the sake of all the rest of His children. We see in our own fathers--as through a mirror, dimly--the great goodness of the Father.

A blessed and happy Father's Day to all you dads out there--especially to my own Dad and to my grandfathers, one of whom I will meet for the first time in heaven. And Happy Father's Day to the heavenly Father. May I learn to be a father more like You in the years ahead.

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