For Father’s day this year, among other presents, the boys made a list of things they love about Dad. It included things like trips to Dunkin Donuts, Dad’s really great jokes about poop, ridiculous bedtime stories, and special trips in his truck. Basically, Dad is tons of fun.
I have one child, though, who was more excited about Father’s Day than the rest, and I think that’s because he’s experienced a different side of my husband.
Like Wreck it Ralph, this child’s passion boils very closely to the surface. Growing with him has expanded my patience and challenged my parental creativity. But when his temper erupts, it is not reason or time out that calm him. What he needs is his dad. He needs his dad’s passionate love to balance out his surging anger.
It borders on the miraculous to me that the minute Dad is on the phone, a completely new child appears. There eyebrows unfurl, his voice lowers, the red drains from his face. Almost instantly he shows remorse and begins the process of repentance. Nothing special is said, other than, “I love you very much,” and, “I know you can do this.”
I think it helps him is just knowing that he’s loved. He needs to remember that even though Dad is far away, at work, his love is still present.
The bible says that God is love. And what I’ve had the privilege of witnessing through my husband and this child is a glimpse of that love, and the power it holds. It is no ordinary love, definitely not in any casual, romantic or even brotherly definiton. It’s an overpowering sacrificial love. It means that even though Dad hasn’t sacrificed hi life for you, he would. That he’s already sacrificed many other things like money, time, and dreams. The child knows the sacrifice, and it redefines his heart as he recieves it.
I don’t envy the responsibility of fatherhood. Most people’s impression of God mirrors their impression of their fathers, and separating those images is often a spiritual battle. Is he full of Grace or judgement? Aloof or available0? It’s not fair to put this pressure on dads, and as people grow its important to separate the fathers from one another, but what a gift! To be able to model this type of love to a child.
It takes five seconds of looking at headlines to understand the world has a desperate shortage of this love. The statistic of fatherless homes is rising, and the consequences of growing up without a father’s love puts a child at risk for all sorts of devastating behaviors. People need to know that as angry and self destructive as we are, there is an equally passionate Father with unfailing love waiting to restore us. It redefines everything about who we are and what we are fighting for. It changes how we treat others, and what we are willing to do for someone else who is hurting. The best thing about this type of love is that its contagious. The more you experience it the more capable you are of sharing it.
I’m sad that because of people’s pain, of their lack of experiencing this type of love, Father’s day has become a tainted holiday. Lately it seems Father’s day reminds people more of their hurt than their joy. But sacrificial love is something we can all celebrate today. I hope you have had the chance to experience it in some way, and I pray that, especially if you were hurt by your earthly father, you will come to know God’s love in this way.
Happy Father’s Day to everyone! And thanks Dad’s for doing all you do.