As we all know, yesterday was Father’s Day. On this day, we celebrate and appreciate our fathers- and the other men in our lives (uncles, grandfathers, godfathers, etc.)who have helped to shape our world into what we know it to be. For Father’s Day, we usually see lots of sales on electronic goods and hardware. And there aren’t nearly as many varieties of cards for Father’s Day. It was so difficult for me to find the perfect card for my father, my godfather, my stepfather, and my pastor.
The issue of Father’s Day is sort of touchy for me; and those who know me well would probably have a good idea why. While I was privileged to have my father be especially invovled in my life for the first 15-16 years, his involvement dramatically decreased following my parents’ divorce…and subsequently our relationship went downhill. It took me a long time to get to a point where I truly forgave my father for things that took place- and there are still things that occur that frequently test that. That said, I could truly relate to what Nat Irvin (the beloved father of my old roommate, Jovian) said in his Sunday column published in the Winston Salem Journal.
You can read Papa Irvin’s article here, but I’ve included an excerpt:
“Being a good father to your child can be one of the greatest joys in a man’s life…On this Father’s Day, I am thankful that I had and still have a father who understands that being a father is more than just some kind of biological accident. It is a statement of commitment to your children – and if you stay with it, they will bring a lifetime of happiness. I feel sorry for the men who are fathers by biology only. They not only deny their children a father who is involved in their lives; they also deny themselves one of the greatest joys that life can offer.”
And so…that inclined me to think about some things. While I’m truly grateful that I was privileged to have my father in my life for some period of time, it’s also frustrating. Sure, he made all the big events: graduation from high school/graduation from college. But what about seeing me off before prom? Or what about being there to inquire about the behavior of the guy that I was dating? Or what about helping me move into my apartment? I’m saddened that my father has missed some of these smaller events in my life that have also helped form me into who I am today.
For the past couple of days I’ve been trying to decide if I feel it’s worse to never have your father involved in your life- or to have him invovled for a while and then not be involved at all. What I realized is that it’s not anything that can be compared, and that it there are different situations and circumstances that allow for each. And in some ways, it’s choosing the lesser of two evils.
All that said, this past Father’s Day was one of realization. I realized the many ways that my father positively impacted my life and how I was grateful for that. I realized the power that lies in forgiveness, and the importance of forgiving others. I realized that I have been blessed with many other men who have been fatherly- Dr. Ervin, my pastor, my godfather, my stepfather, along with several uncles- and who have also helped to make a difference. I realized the value in having a father around, and the difference that it can make. And most importantly, I was reminded that ultimately my life is about God’s glory- and things that happen in my life are all purposed by God.
June 19, 2006 at 11:22 pm
Very interesting. I celebrate my father’s finer points opposed to focusing on his faults. Of course I wish he would have done some things differently – the same way my sons will wish I’d done some things differently – but I can not allow myself to ignore his contributions. God specifically picked him for me, so I must believe that my being of him has a purpose. I’m also more aware of the myth of “the perfect dad.” Even though some people consider their dad perfection, I realize that that dude very well may not be perfect FOR ME – which is probably why God didn’t give me him. Besides, we have to remember that we only see people when we see them. We have no idea who someone is or what they do when they aren’t in our presence. Like you – and most of “us,” I’m a product of the village concept – and I’m SOOO very grateful for that. What my dad lacked, God has blessed me with other men who could fill in the blank. For example, when Jovian’s dad came to Phoenix, we talked about grad school stuff – something that my dad couldn’t do, but something that God clearly knew I needed. I choose to say “God thanks for sending me Dr. Irvin …” instead of “I wish my dad could …” god has allowed me to experience TRUE fatherhood – multiple male elders considering me their responsibility – on a whole new level. I now embrace my role and hope to take the baton and “father” all those who come after me … and I hope one of them blows up, gets rich and invites me to their Legends Ball!