Fanciful

For Father’s Day. (Belated).

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Happy Father’s Day.

Father’s day is a reflection on, well, fatherhood, isn’t it?

And some just really lucked out. And, congrats. Congrats and Happy Father’s Day and Hallmark cards and photo slide-shows and BBQ’s and all, to the kids with great dads, great memories, great throwback pics.

And love to those dads who were always there and taught their kiddos to ride bikes and throw baseballs and fill out tax returns. Cheers to the dads who sang “Happy birthday” and gave piggy-back rides and caught babies at the end of the slide. Thanks, Dad. Those were a lot of sacrifices, seriously, thanks.

But some had dads who, instead, whispered lies into hearts about worthlessness and hurt and shame and heaviness. To those dads, too, happy Father’s Day. And prayers, too. Jesus, Jesus, prayers for healing and forgiveness.

But prayers for those who scroll through the sappy images on Facebook with a heavy heart, because there was no picture-perfect relationship, there was no real father. Prayers for those heavy-hearts. The hurts from a parent hurt deeply.

And there were dads who just never really dad-ed. Prayers to you, kids-without-dads who grew up wholly, but maybe with a hole. Happy Father’s Day to you, too.

I grew up in the world, you know? I grew up with broken-family kids and sons who have used their low-voices to share how they wish their dad had been around to teach them how to play catch and the daughters who have cried many days and nights about things their dads have done and said…or never done and never said.

And I’m really not here to bash around a holiday. It’s a good holiday. I still have goosebumps for the prayers we prayed at mass as all the fathers stood. I’m all about affirming the men I know who are good and even great, great fathers to little kiddos.

But I also want to say that: hey, life isn’t perfect. And maybe your relationship with your dad isn’t perfect. And that’s OK. And you exist and you are valued and important and dream of better things in a hurting world. And that’s OK.

And here’s to the men who want to dad, badly, but have maybe never met the right woman to wed or, with their wife, have never been able to have children.

Here’s to the men who have fathered the other children of their community–even the young men showing examples of fairness and hard work and honesty to boys a few years younger then themselves.

Here’s to the priests I know who wish they had children, but instead throw themselves whole-heartedly into the care of their spiritual children. For all the times I’ve called them crying or made them pray for me: thank you. For all the times they’ve stayed up late ministering or pushed themselves caring: Happy Father’s Day.

Here’s to the men who have stood in for fathers, who have taught us what it means to be kind and gentle and to listen and guide: Happy Father’s Day. You are sometimes more father than you even know.

It’s a messy world, I guess. And there’s a spectrum of feels this past Sunday could have introduced.

But, wherever you found yourself: Happy Father’s Day. And I’m praying for you. 🙂

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