When Your Dad Isn’t Stellar
Father’s Day is a great time to have your children tell you how amazing you are. I love my boys; it’s great to hear them recount stories that their poor memories have thankfully affected in a positive way. However some children grow up in homes where they didn’t have the best relationship in the world with their dad. For this occasion, Hallmark doesn’t make an honest Fathers Day card, even if we kids could muster up the courage to send it.
Such was my story. My father left my mother, sister and I when I was young and was hardly ever in our lives. He struggled with alcohol and as a result made a decision to leave rather than fulfill the responsibilities of being a husband and a dad. My sister and I grew up with an understanding that this was just the way it was. Mom was the provider (she did an amazing job) and dad; well he wasn’t often the topic of conversation, even though he lived in the same small Ontario town as we did.
All things considered we had a good life. After college I married the girl of my dreams and we had our first child. We came back home to share the birth of our son with my side of the family and had the chance to introduce him to his grandfather. Thankfully we had a picture taken with them together because it was the only one we would have. 3 days later, my father passed away from a brain aneurysm.
Fast forward to this year on Father’s Day. While talking with my boys, I began to think about my own father. I remembered what he was like and how I have thought about him since he died. I began to wonder what I would say to him if he were still alive today.
I felt a prompting from the Holy Spirit to take another look at Dad and I.
I realized that as disappointed as I was with our relationship, deep down inside I loved my father. If he were alive today, I would take the time to tell him so, to be honest with him whether it changed our relationship or not, and to let him know that I forgave him. I would make sure that his grandchildren knew him and I’d tell him about Jesus and how He can change our lives if we let Him.
Thankfully, this isn’t everyone’s story, as many have had simply amazing fathers. On the other hand, some have had relationships much worse than I could even begin to imagine; mine would seem like heaven compared to theirs. Nevertheless, comparing my story to yours isn’t the purpose of this note.
I sensed the Spirit pointing me again to the amazing potential of Christ’s redemption for every situation. Jesus died to provide this hope for all of us and if I were given the chance again, I would live as if this redemption was available for my dad. Because it was.
Unfortunately I won’t get that chance now, but maybe someone who reads this will. It’s worth the risk. Happy Fathers Day!
Pastor Larry Moore