There I stood as a young girl at the age of four, sobbing as I watched my father leave again. It always felt like forever until I saw him again, and it often was forever. Most of the time he never looked back to see me, crying behind the glass door of our home. He almost always walked swiftly away, speeding off to wherever it was he went. The tone, the feeling of his exit was always bad. My little four-year-old brain could not understand why my daddy would want to run away from me, from our family. Finally the day came when he didn’t come back.
I would later, as an adult, comprehend his confusing and heartbreaking behavior. My father was unable to show me what it meant to be a good and loving father. He was not shown how to do that himself. I honestly believe he did the best that he could. I have since found forgiveness and healing.
On this special month as we celebrate Fathers, I wish to send out a huge thank you to the good men out there, who take time to encircle others not of their own flesh and blood, into the protective shelter of their love…
Dear Fathers to the fatherless/father starved,
Thank you for who you are each day. For the choice to quietly go about doing what you do, looking for opportunities to serve and strengthen those around you. Often you do it, just because it is who you are.
To all of the neighbor men across the street, through the fence or around the block, who kept a watchful eye on our family while I was growing up and then while I was raising my own young family and into my years as a single mother. You offered service, you put outdoor fabric on my pergola, you took it back down, you brought meals, you wrapped Christmas presents, you even gave us Christmas presents, you would pray over me and my children hundreds of times over the course of my 45 plus years of life. You made repairs to cars; you kept an eye on my younger brother who grew up to be an amazing father himself because of your loving influence. You offered encouragement when it was needed and counsel in times of uncertainty. You prayed for our family in times of great need and I felt your faith and saw miracles because of it. You also loaned me power tools so I could fix things!
To my ex-father-in-law, who loves and supports me still as the mother of his grandchildren. Thank you for your wise and loving ear, for sitting with me in my uncertainty and not having all the answers but having all the heart to listen without judgement. Thank you for being a steady example of what it means to be loved by a good father figure.
Thank you to you good single men, who served me as a young adult woman and later as a single mother. Though you did not have your own family, you sought to bless my life and/or my children showing them what it means to go beyond your own world and think of others.
To the father of my own children, thank you for proving to my own four-year-old self from long ago what a loving father can do even after a divorce. For still being very much involved in the lives of our children, for guiding and loving them still.
To the men out there who rise above their painful childhood to give something better to the next generation than they were given, thank you for showing us all that patterns can be changed and the bondage of false beliefs can be broken.
To all of you good men out there, yes YOU are a good man! You bring a light, strength and love with you that is desperately needed in this world more than you will ever know. The light you bring with you often lingers in the homes you visit or the people you help for days or weeks. You teach the children who don’t have fathers or who are hungry for father-like love, that we are loved and worthy of love, just because we are alive.
Thank you for shepherding the fatherless children in our world. Thank you for filling the role that nature created for you; to lead by serving, to protect by being by soft to those who need a safe place to land, for being the shield between the harshness of the world and the women and children in yours, for being strong by standing up for what is right and for reaching beyond your own little world to share a bit of your love and goodness with us all.
Thank you to the Father I know and love in Heaven. Thank you for Your sustaining love felt in the sunshine on my face, a beautiful sunset, a delicious morsel of food, a warm hug, the breath of life in my body, my stereo vision, the music of my children’s laughter in my ears, my feet on the grass, the gift of Your son given for me and the hope of a glorious life after this one.
My Warmest Regards,
P.S. Today 1 in 6 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 1.7 million children — are being raised without a father. Thank you again for all you do! You are indispensable.