Friday, June 17, 2011

Remembering Fathers

As Father's Day approaches, my thoughts linger on memories of my father.  My father would have 'turned' 95 years old on June 6.  He died in 1993.  While my father did not live with my mother and their five children, he was present in my life and taught me life lessons.  I learned to be a responsible worker from him.  I learned to accept the way in which he demonstrated love - giving money or goods.  When I was 17 years old, I asked my father to please choose a gift for me and not give me money.  He bought me a camel colored winter coat  with puffed sleeves and scroll work stitched on the collar.  I treasured that coat and kept it for many years.  Taking the coat to a second-hand shop felt like giving away a precious jewel.

Today, my friend Barbara and her siblings traveled across states to visit their father.  His memory fails him at crucial times and he may need to move out of his home.  I think of this family and pray for father and children to hear each other - to take action that meets their needs as a family.

Tonight, I remember John.  John - a dear friend with the spiritual heart of the Father - died in November 2010 when his physical heart rested.  He taught me that in order to have the Father's heart, I needed to receive the Father's love - just as the prodigal son did. 

John visited The Hermitage in St. Petersburg and spent hours viewing Rembrandt's The Return of the Prodigal Son.  He said at various points during  his time at the museum, he saw himself as the prodigal son, the elder brother, and the father.  John served as a spiritual father to so many.  I miss him here.

I am grateful for the example of fathering I see in my husband.  Experiencing his intentional, willing to grow, patient and gracious approach to our children healed wounds in my heart.  I am grateful to know and deeply love him.

Henri Nouwen, in Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming eloquently writes about being a son and being a compassionate father.
Thus for my sake, Jesus becomes the younger son as well as the elder son in order to show me how to become the Father.  Through him I can become a true son again and, as a true son, I finally can grow to be compassionate as our heavenly Father is. p. 127
I am so grateful to Father God for showing me what He requires of me, providing life through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to live out that requirement to:
"do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with my God." (Micah 6:8). 

My transformation continues...

Stop by the Faith Barista Jam today and share your thoughts on fathers.

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