My Dad knew the secret of happiness. He gave the illustration frequently, of a candle burning itself out in the service of others, and that was how he spent his life. And as a result, he was immensely blessed. He held nothing back. Since he was thrifty and consistent, and not afraid to take an opportunity or do extra work, he made sure we were all well cared for. But he gave freely of himself to others with his time and money. He consistently chose the best action that would produce the greatest good. My Dad was shy, because he came from a verbally abusive home, so he was never able to give us verbal affirmation. But he taught us to work all we can, save all we can, and give all we can. When he arrived home for dinner, he gave me a big hug and since we sat next to each other at the dinner table, he played “toes” with me. I knew he loved me. He gave us six kids an amazing example and was a leader in our community and well-loved by hundreds of people. As he got older, he became sweeter and sweeter, and in his old age, his passion for following God shone out of him.
My kids didn’t get to experience what I did. Their Dad wasn’t able to be there for them. He was blocked and broken and died way too young, at age 48.
Dr Dobson tells the story of Hallmark cards going into the jails on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to give free cards to inmates. For Mother’s Day, everyone was on deck, but on Father’s Day, only a few were takers.
This week, my Mom suggested my two oldest boys should call their Uncle Grant, who invested in them during their adolescence, flying them to Missoula and giving them jobs at his rambling Axemen Store. My four brothers also invested in my boys, shooting off rockets, even taking them along on dates. Family friends reached out to my kids, including them in their family parties, taking them out to do fun things or just to talk.
So what do you do when you don’t have a Dad to honor for Fathers‘s Day? If your Dad was absent, remote, distant, even abusive? Bitterness can quietly poison a person, and even if no one knows about it, the poison leaks out and affects the ones you most want to protect.
Who could you call today and thank? Who invested in you? Thankfulness is life-giving and healing. Tell them a memory of time you spent together that meant a lot to you. Tell them how you are like them today because of the time they shared with you. I’d love to hear back from you if you make that call.