This Sunday, people around the globe will be celebrating their Dads. For most, it’s a special day filled with happiness, handmade cards and crafts, neckties and grilling tools. It’s a time people gather to spend time with the fathers in their lives. But for many, it’s a sad and lonely day. It’s a day where the missing piece in your family feels magnified. For the fatherless, it’s like lemon juice in their wounds. If Father’s Day is a sad day for you, whether you are a kid or a grieving adult missing your Dad, today I want to talk directly to you.
Every time a heartfelt, tear-jerking Father’s Day ad appears on my television, I think about you. I understand how it feels to be bombarded with the reminders of what used to be, or what should be. I feel how hurtful it is to look around and see families celebrating their Dads while you’re without one. I know how painful the card aisle can be. I recognize the courage it takes to get through this particular day. I see the melancholy of your heart as you wish for the memories you have to feel sufficient on this day. I know they aren’t. Not even close. And for those of you who’ve never had a loving Dad, I see you, too. Your pain is every bit as significant as those who have had and lost.
You can be grateful for the love you DO have in your life all day long, but the emptiness of not having a Dad on Sunday is still a sharp cut to your heart. I wish I could fast forward through Sunday for you. I wish I could mute the Dad chatter and turn off the father/daughter and father/son images running through your mind every day, but especially on Father’s Day. I wish the other people in your life felt like enough on Sunday, even though I know they won’t.
Father’s Day for the fatherless is one of those days we just have to get through. We just have to survive. And we can. I want you to know that it’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to not be ok on Sunday. I also want you to know you are loved and understood…and you are not alone in your Father’s Day grief and despair.
If you have great memories of your Dad, I hope those flood over you and bring with them a smile and a sliver of comfort. If you’ve never had a Dad, I hope you feel the love of a heavenly Father who cares about you more than any of the best earthly Dads. That’s a fact.
Not having a Dad to walk you down the aisle, to call for advice, to be your strong and consistent rock when life has you feeling weak – it’s not fair. It so not fair. He should be here to hold you, to hold your babies, to meet your new boyfriend or to ask you if you’ve changed the oil in your car lately. He should be here to embarrass you with black socks and sandals, and he should be here to make you feel safe and secure. I am so sorry he’s not here. I’m sorry for your hurt.
I pray you’ll find yourself around life’s second best on Sunday – the people who aren’t your Dad but are trying so hard to stand in the gap for you. Maybe they are friends, moms or grandparents – but look for them. They’re trying their best to soften Sunday’s blow. And I pray so much that you’ll feel God’s love for you every day, but especially Sunday. I can’t tell you why some people get to keep their Dads for such a long time, some just barely at all, and some who never ever have a Dad. I don’t know. But I know you’re not alone and I know I’ll be thinking about you Sunday. I’ll be praying for Monday to just hurry up already. And I’ll be praying you get all the extra grace you need.
Psalm 146:9 (NIV)
The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
Deuteronomy 1:31-33 (The Message)
‘I tried to relieve your fears: “Don’t be terrified of them. God, your God, is leading the way; he’s fighting for you. You saw with your own eyes what he did for you in Egypt; you saw what he did in the wilderness, how God, your God, carried you as a father carries his child, carried you the whole way until you arrived here. But now that you’re here, you won’t trust God, your God—this same God who goes ahead of you in your travels to scout out a place to pitch camp, a fire by night and a cloud by day to show you the way to go.”