I’ve been a dad now for 25 years. Many of the best moments of my life–and many of the most difficult and painful–have been because of my kids. Giggles, laughter, bedtime stories and snuggles and prayers; sweet and heartfelt Father’s Day messages. Memories I’ll cherish all my life. Sure, there are also plenty of things I wish I had done differently, things I could have said better. But time flows like a river, inexorably one way toward its unseen destination. All I can do is the best I can from this moment forward. No regrets, because regrets struggle mightily against the current you can’t possibly defeat and leave you facing the wrong way.
But I don’t mean to make it sound like I don’t love being a dad–I do, and I have for all 25 years of it. My kids are all interesting and beautiful people, each in their own way. My life has been enriched in countless ways by each of them, and my music playlists might still be stuck in the 80s and 90s if not for the fresh and (mostly) enjoyable music they’ve all introduced me to.
While each of my kids is their own unique person, I see in each of them little pieces of myself that I have placed in them, some intentionally and some not. I helped set their lives in motion, carrying these thousand little torches I have lit throughout their lives. In a way, they are the gift I give to the world in a future some of which I likely won’t see. One of my prayers for them is that they will be better people and better parents than I have been–not saying that I’ve been bad at either, just hoping that they will do even better.
Anyway, in honor of Father’s Day, I have been pondering what is the most essential theme I want to impart to them that has been driving me as their dad. After covering a lot of ground, I finally landed on this: I have always wanted them to know that no matter what has happened, no matter what they have done, they are loved. That I love them. So I think and hope and pray that they know this.
And, thankfully, I am not the only father who feels this way. In addition to the many great dads out there (and even in spite of the not-so-great ones), we all have the greatest Father in heaven who loves us all so powerfully and unconditionally that He sacrificed His Child to bring us close to Him, into the protective shadow of His wings. If I in all my brokenness can love my kids as strongly as I do, it’s hard to imagine a Father loving His children more than that. But He does, and I am at once amazed and grateful for that. How could you not be?
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, and blessings to all.