Tag Archives: Father

Just Say It

So, um, Father’s Day.

Yeah. That means we have to call him. And say something. This will be awkward.

For some of us that’s the equivalent of a superhuman feat. Not because we don’t want to. But often, because we don’t know what to say.

‘Hey Dad. Did you see the game?’

‘Hi Dad, how’s Mom?’

‘Oh work’s fine. Same old, same old. Nope, nothing new. Yup, kids are good. Nobody’s sick. Ok, yeah, good talking to you too.’

Or, we fall into the typical routines. For the sons, that means sitting on the couch, turning on the game, and grunting at each other every other inning, interposed with large doses of chips and salsa. And a poorly concealed belch or five. For the daughters, it means a quick hug and asking where mom is.

It’s been that way for generations. Since Adam & Eve. Which really should make us jealous of Adam & Eve because neither of them ever had to search through the card aisle for the appropriate message conveying emotions that are bottled up 364 days out of the year. Which also begs the thought. You think your conversation is difficult? Imagine the chat Adam & Cain had on Father’s Day –

‘Hi Dad, how are things?’

‘Rough year, son. Sinned more. Your mother’s changed a lot since we were kicked out of Eden. Sheesh, I’ve changed a lot too. Tomatoes aren’t growing like they used to. Had to put the pet lion down when he tried to eat the sheep last month. And then somebody killed Abel. What’s up with you?’

‘Oh. Um. Happy Father’s Day?’

Awkward conversations come with the territory, right? We never know what to say. And then your spouse says ‘Hug him!’ WHAT!?

Blame it on Hallmark all you want, but Dad deserves it…

No, really. And stop staring at the computer screen thinking about why he doesn’t.

Call him. If he doesn’t answer, call him again. And when he does pick up? Say it. ‘I love you, Dad’. You may think that saying it will result in the Apocalypse, but it doesn’t. Go ahead. Look it up. We’ll wait.

But don’t make Dad wait. Tell him you love him. Note, I didn’t say you should tell him you like him. It’s okay if you don’t sometimes. He gets it. He didn’t like you sometimes too. But he never stopped loving you. Even if he didn’t say it much.

And maybe, just maybe, when you say it, you might hear it back. But, even if you don’t, it’s okay. You still love him. And you said it.

And, if Dad’s not around anymore, and you can’t say it like you used to, that’s okay too. Go pay him a visit. Sure, he’s really not there. It’s just a marker. But your memories are probably still there, or will be when you get there. So say it. Cry some. Say it again. Cry some more. And then repeat again next year.

Just say it.

Because he loves you too.

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Moral Imperatives: Lessons of a Father

Reblogged from Pyromaniacs:

Moral Imperatives

Worth reposting, not just because it’s current and appropriate, but because it APPLIES to all aspects of relationships. Worth the read – link here.

Dear Son,

You’ve made a confession to me that you do not expect me to receive well, and I admit that what you have said has wounded me, because it is not what I wanted for you. In fact, it is not what I still want for you, which is only the best personally, mentally, and spiritually. While it took some sort of single-mindedness on your part to admit this to me, I think it was difficult in part because you knew it would hurt me. I am not going to lie to you: I am, in fact, hurt.

What puzzles me is that you want me to accept this for you and from you when you know I don’t think this is what’s best for you. I can accept that this is what you want for yourself, and that it seems good to you right now, and that in some sense you cannot help yourself but feel this way. But let’s face it: there are many things we know we want which are not even good for us, let alone right or worthwhile.

Since you have made your confession about your situation, let me confess mine: I have never really been a good man at all. I could make a list here of all the times I have failed you, and your mother, and your siblings, and my employer, and the elders at church, and so on — but I’ll bet you can make that list also. You may remember some things I have forgotten, and I’ll simply stipulate to the entire exercise. I want you to know that I know I am not a good man, and I come to this problem we now face as a man who, at the end of the day, can’t advise you from the moral high ground.

I can only advise you, my son, as a man who has spent his life utterly at the mercy of Jesus Christ.

You know: in some sense, I feel like I love you, so it’s easy for me to have done things for you all our life together like buy you clothes and give you a house to live in and feed you and play games with you. But let’s face it: every day has not been a day full of duckies and puppies of paternal love overflowing from me to you. Some days I was angry at you, or tired of your shenanigans, or just tired from work and marriage, and I didn’t feel loving toward you — I just felt sort of numb, or worse: burdened by you because you were a handful (as any human being is). In those moments, I was what I know I am, and I didn’t want to do what I knew otherwise was right. The difference between those moments and this moment, with you, is that in those moments, I knew that my feelings and urges and dissatisfaction were wrong, and did not justify failing to do the right thing.

Having said that, let me make a confession: there were a lot of those days. That’s not because you were especially bad, but because I am. And when I knew my own sin, my own weakness, my own unwillingness to do what I would do if I were full of emotions to point me in a direction that looks so good to other people, I knew that I needed a savior for more than just some kind of final victory: I needed him for a victory today, minute by minute, to become a person grateful for what he has done for me. In some way, I had to remember that the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

So I didn’t just accept that Jesus loved me, or even that he died for me — as if that kind of story really means anything except as a spectacle anyone could watch in a movie. I accepted that his obedience made out of love, which caused him to want to die on a cross for a person like me, was so that I would know how to obey when I was personally out of love, and out of strength, and out of patience, and all that was left was the way I felt when I felt like I wasn’t made to do any of this stuff.

Now: so what? What does that have to do with your confession that this is who you really are? It is my answer back to you, which I think somehow you do not expect: this is also who I really am. The difference between you and me is that I think I need to be saved from it, and you think you do not need to be saved, but rather accepted, so that other people’s acceptance of your problem is substituted for real redemption and real resolution.

I love you. I want what is best for you. What you are committing to right now is not it. I am willing, after all these years, to die for you, or die with you, in pursuit of putting the sinful things we both face here and now to death. But I cannot tell you that your decision today is the right decision, and I can’t tell you that your confession is anything but a resignation to do what is right in your own eyes in spite of what you know to be true about the moral and spiritual order of the world. We both have a problem — and it is the same problem. Thank God, we both have a solution, and it is the same solution. Please do not toss out the solution, because it is the only one for you. I am praying for you, and will pray for you, and until you accept the solution, I am also weeping for you.

With love in spite of disappointment,


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