It’s Father’s Day and Facebook is all aglow with well wishes for loving fathers and family photos vintage and current of dads with their happy families. I find this heartwarming. I love seeing pics of dads with daughters proclaiming their father’s virtues.
My experience was different. I didn’t have a loving father and he wasn’t traditionally involved in my life to any appreciable degree. He was a good worker, and intelligent. He created a business from scratch and made a successful go of it. I’m so proud of him for that. He was a raconteur, regaling dinner guests with humorous stories he told in entertaining fashion. But as a father…his virtues take a little longer to discover.
He did provide us a home, and a nice one, too. He paid for my college, no strings, the best gift he he ever gave me. He did keep his promise to financially support us after he and his wife divorced. He helped me financially at periods through my early adult life. He usually remembered my birthday and Christmas with a check, signed “Love, Dad.”
But in all his 81 years of life he never said the important words “I love you.” Not once.
Neither did he show through action any love hidden deeply and unspoken. Despite invitations to personally come to Parents’ Day at College, or the ribbon cutting of my new business or other celebratory things Facebook Fathers seem to enjoy, that was not my lot. Despite tragedies such as unwanted divorce or hospitalization, no father appeared by my bedside or at the lawyer’s to give support. There simply was a great, silent, empty vacuum on the Interstate corridor between his home and mine.
It was kind of a blessing to learn late what kind of relationship other girls had with their dad. I was unaware for a long time of what I had been missing. For example, I had not known that dads and daughters spent time alone together, like having a picnic or going to the movies. I was shocked to learn this. I was never alone with my father, for any reason at any time, casual or scheduled. I literally would not know what to say to him if we ever had been.
He was a man full of laughter during dinner parties but with the family that was another matter. He had a low tolerance for many things, such as noise, questions, failing an unspoken standard, moving his remote control, sitting in his chair, and lots of other stuff. Anger eruptions would occur at any time and send us fleeing to separate quarters to escape the wrath.
As an adult things eased. There was a period of time we were socially friendly. Me and my husband and he and his live-in, long term girlfriend would go out to dinner, sail on his boat, swim in the pool. It was like we were his young friends, not family. I remember one time he was telling a story about kids and we were laughing and laughing at the foibles of this kid he was recalling and the story picked up steam and the laughter got more hilarious and unthinkingly at the end he wiped his eyes and blurted, “I’m glad I never had kids.”
That was how far we were from his heart, so far that we weren’t his children at all. When we were little, we were noisy inconveniences not usually tolerated. As young adults we were a financial obligation. As older adults we were a built-in social network to ease his loneliness. And as a senior, he completed his life-long rejection thus- with disownment.
He not only wrote us off but specifically made note that this was intentional. The last act of Mr Prata regarding his children is an act of bitterness. He wrote an ending to a relationship that wasn’t over yet, but punctuated it anyway with a stroke of a pen.
I’m not writing this out of anger, just sadness. Sadness for him and of what he missed, and what he is missing now. I believe he died outside of the grace of Jesus, and that means he will remember for a punishing eternity the things written here and all the rest of his acts during his 81 years of life, forever. Nothing I could say or do about him is worse than that.
I hope that the silent daughters who are sad on this day looking online or in real life at all the happy dads and daughters would take heart. Coming up is an encouragement.
Daughters of Jesus, we know that the sweetness of a Father that will not reject us nor cast us out of His hand is a balm for the soul where the dad’s love should have been. Sisters who are watching the Facebook wall scroll by with happy cries of well-wishes for dads alive and dads gone on to glory, if that had not been your experience, just remember that we have a Father in Heaven. He has said we cry Abba! Father! for all our needs and upon whom to pour out all our love as he pours out His upon us. He is perfect, having formed us and known us from heart to soul to mind to strength. He is a Dad who sees us, El Roi, whose eyes roam to and fro over the earth “to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9a).
We are His children-
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, (John 1:12)
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3:1).
We are heirs to our Abba-
To redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:5-7)
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:14-19)
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:18)
If you have lost your family due to the faith-
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. (Matthew 19:29)
All these promises and more are for us and in us and about us, those who believe. There is much to take heart over. There is everything to be encouraged by in our relationship with the heavenly Father.
If you are not saved by grace of Jesus, and you’re feeling alone on Father’s Day with no father in your life, my deepest empathy goes out to you. I don’t know how you cope with the loss and not have the comfort of Jesus – the true Father – to turn to. If you would like to know something of this sweetness, comfort, and joy, email me. My email is in the “About this blog” tab up top.
With his seething pen, my father sought to obliterate the memory of his children from his heart and to puncture us with a long lasting wound. The irony is, the Lord causes those who reject Him to remember each and every sin of their earthly life, forever, while we, children of God, will not remember sorrows nor shall these things come to mind. (Isaiah 65:17). He will remember forever and lay in an eternal bed of anger and bitterness, while I will forget him and go on in joy and peace with my heavenly Father.
The former sorrows of the earth, under the fall, shall be so far from recurring, that their very remembrance shall be obliterated by the many mercies I will bestow on the new earth (Re 21:4-27). Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Is 65:17.
So take heart, sad or mourning or grieving daughters! I am happy to say that it has become my joy to rely on the love of my real Father and it will remain so all through eternity. I have a Father, and every day is Happy Father’s Day. You do too.