“Dad, I’m proud to call you my earthly father. You are celebrated and loved by your family. Every day is a gift from your Heavenly Father. Remember to celebrate each one!” – Love, your son. Braden.
“The best gifts are those you can’t buy and which can not be taken away” Love, Daddy
Over the past few weeks I can’t put a finger on why, but I’ve felt an unusual sense of blessing and contentment. That’s foreign to me. Normally, I just go about life trudging through it like I’m on a long uphill hike with no time to stop and appreciate the simple beauty of the very mountain I’m climbing. Sadly lacking clarity on where I’m even trying to go.
Through most of the previous two years, I’ve been rope climbing a ragged cliff rather than walking up a steep mountain. Each day a part of me felt I could misstep at any moment and fall helplessly to the bottom. Many days I believed I was already there, flat on my back at the foot of Mount Everest.
At this point I won’t go too deeply into the details. That’s for another time. All I guess is needed today is to acknowledge the fact that God has stuck with me and our family on this path. He always has. Out of infinite grace and love, He reminds me once in awhile how amazing life can be while I’m so busy striving toward some unknown destination yet to materialize.
Certainly, among these blessings undeserved are my family and friends about whom I could write volumes. Suffice today to simply take stock in these particular blessings. Ones that continually help sustain in life’s “climb”.
Speaking of not taking time to smell the roses. Someone please explain to me what happens along the way when most guys no longer get excited about life events like birthdays and holidays? It may just be me, but a lot of my friends (if they get honest) admit the same. “Oh, we stopped giving each other Christmas and birthday gifts years ago. I mean, there’s nothing either of us can’t just buy when we want it.”
Not to stereotype, but typically this is a man’s perspective. There are exceptions, but more often than not, it’s the guy who considers such events just another day. I’ll confess. That’s me. Of course, wedding anniversaries and Cathy’s birthdays are different… (especially if she is reading this).
About a month ago, our 13 year old Caitlin said to me, “Daddy. Are you excited about Father’s Day?” Being the pragmatist, I figured I may as well come clean early in her life and admit it, “Not so much, honey. I just think of it as another day. That’s not to say y’all can’t be excited, but dad just doesn’t really get excited about much these days”. Her face deflated. I’m sure she was confused as to why a day designated to celebrate someone for a specific reason wouldn’t be cause for complete elation.
Of course, I felt like a heel. What’s new. I mean, let’s get honest. These days, what does a man need or want that he can’t just buy? (I’m guessing you’re ahead of me here).
Last night, watching TV late. Again, Caitlin said excitedly, “Daddy, this weekend is Father’s Day! Are you excited yet? I am!” Suddenly, I thought to myself, shouldn’t I be thankful if nothing more, that I have a child and moreover, one who is eager to celebrate and recognize her father?
This morning, after an all-night rain it was cool and breezy outside. I sat and read as I do most every morning to start the day. After praying, I looked around. I’m sitting in a beautiful back yard. I have an amazing and loving wife who has stuck with me in sickness and in health. Currently, I’m healthy. I have a paying job. One I’ve learned to enjoy even though it isn’t the leadership career track I was on before choosing to change paths. My life is full of friends. The best kind. The ones who daily send blessings and are there every step of the “climb”.
Although we lost one of our most precious gifts in Braden, we still have each other and the confidence that we’ll be reunited. The list of blessing is too long and certainly not one for bragging purposes. Yet, it is a list worth acknowledging and one in which to take stock.
We are taught in church that God is most pleased when His children acknowledge and celebrate Him. I’ve been in church all my life but embarrassed to admit I’ve not really grown much in my relationship with my heavenly Father until the past 20 or so months. When we sing worship songs or hymns, I used to think it was just to fill the half hour before we got the sermon. Kind of like a lead in or opening act. A routine.
I’ve come to realize the songs and praise we give to our Father are of mutual benefit rather than us trying to convince Him of some emotion or feeling. Rather, it’s an acknowledgement of a relationship between a perfect loving Father who brought us into this world and His children.
We give Him acknowledgment, praise, worship, and honor. He gives us assurance and perfect peace. Confidence. Counsel. Healing and eternally far more than we could ever give Him.
Being a dad whose eyes were opened a little wider through the loss of our son, I find the comparison interesting to consider between our perfect heavenly Father and us earthly imperfect ones. The differences are as broad as the Grand Canyon. Although we strive, we always fall short. I have in the past often and most certainly will every day of my life.
The most amazing thing to me is this. While I am a father, I’m also a child. As a child who is still learning I make mistakes and always will. Yet, my heavenly Father forgives me each time, always there to guide when I seek Him. That’s reason to celebrate EVERY DAY!
I guess I need to preach to myself today. Maybe other fathers might need it too. Who knows. Tomorrow I plan to be thankful that my child is excited about Father’s Day and will commit to praying for a child’s eyes, thanking my dad and my heavenly Father for all they both mean to their child.
Prayer for parents/ dads:
“Lord, sometimes I’m blown away by the clarity You instill in me, reminding me of Your love, grace, and awesome blessings I take for granted too often. I pray over every parent today who is too busy striving toward an unseen goal or invisible destination. Open our eyes as your children as moms and dads, to be thankful for what we have in the present.
Happy Heavenly Father’s Day! In Jesus’ name, Amen”