I’ve had to remind myself a few times that I’m not sending a Father’s Day card this year.
Each time I remind myself of that I also have to remind myself to breathe. And then not to cry or the clerk stocking the greeting card aisle will look at me sideways as I walk by. And then I’ll usually go through the motions for the next hour until it wears off and a Father’s Day sign hanging from the eave of Hallmark reminds me–once again.
This year threatened to be hard. The impending holiday dedicated to Dads could easily be one of the hardest days I’ll have to live through since saying goodbye to my Dad this last December. But I realize now, six months later almost to the day, that it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be hard for you, either. Or anyone for that matter who stands fatherless this year.
As I was driving to work yesterday sorting through memories of Father’s Days past, a scripture came to mind. It was verse I hadn’t ever really thought about until right that moment.
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” -Psalms 68:5.
And suddenly, things made a little more sense for me.
I never realized until now that each year this holiday is something a huge group of people face with heavy hearts. It’s a group of people who often go unnoticed and un-talked about–overshadowed by greeting cards, fatherhood sermons, and children riding on men’s shoulders. It’s filled with people who haven’t even known the love of a Dad here on earth and who don’t even have the memories of holding his hand.
Some in this group will celebrate Father’s Day at a gravestone. Others will pretend the holiday doesn’t exist. Some will wrestle with forgiveness and bad memories and some will be reminded that they don’t even know what it’s like to have a dad. In households all across the country there is a lack of a dad’s love, a lack of male figures in the house that play basketball with the boys and intimidate the boyfriends of the girls. And because of this kind of disappearance, so many–no matter how they lost, or never even gained, a dad–are tempted to feel like they got the short end of the stick.
So many forget that the promise in Psalms 68:5 applies to them too.
Heavenly Father is just that: A father.
He isn’t a light in the sky or a feel-good story. He’s never been a myth or a fabrication or a dictator overseeing billions of insignificant followers that pass through generations like dust. He’s your Dad.
He’s a dad who cries at our losses and who cheers us on as we regain footing. He’s the one who gives us strength when we have to do it alone and who listens to us even when we don’t listen to him. He’s an eternal father to the fatherless, to the lost, to the abused, and to the abandoned. Why do we think of Him in any other way?
Elder Holland once spoke about the pure knowledge that Christ had of his Father in Heaven and how real the relationship was.
“In that most burdensome moment of all human history,” he said, “Christ sought Him whom He had always sought–His Father. ‘Abba’, he cried… or from the lips of a younger child, ‘Daddy’…A son in unrelieved pain, a Father his only true source of strength, both of them staying the course, making it through the night–together.”
This Father’s Day I’m inspired to know that none of us really remain fatherless. On those hard nights, how many fathers truly surround me? My Father in Heaven who sent me to earth, my Dad who loved me once I got here, and still loves me now. Then there are the generations of grandparents and ancestors who reach to me and whisper guidance through the veil, faces I haven’t even met in this life.
How wonderful it is that no matter what, we never live a day without a Father’s touch. Not a single one of us.
Not when a whole army of love stands on guard for us throughout our lives from places seen and unseen, making Father’s Day–and every day, really–always worth celebrating.