God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle’s flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
He called it … Dad.
- Author Unknown
Today, for the first time since I was a boy, I can honestly say that I have a relationship with my father.
You see, something happens during those teenage years. Couple that with 6 solid years of heavy drinking and partying…my father and I had basically become strangers, if not downright enemies.
As a boy, there wasn’t another man alive who was stronger or smarter than my dad! I think we can all relate to those feelings. As a teen, I was constantly embarrassed by his ‘childish’ humor, and tendency to shed tears when something got to him – I saw him as trying too hard to be cool, and overly sensitive. In my early 20′s, a resentment towards him grew, as I felt misunderstood and judged relentlessly.
This is the 3rd ‘Fathers Day’ I’ve been able to celebrate since becoming sober. The first year, I was in rehab at the time. My father and I spent some quality time together…but mostly I remember being bound, figuratively, to the “chains” of shame. It just made me sick to think of what all I had put my parents through.
Fast-forward to 2012…I still feel a touch of shame, for the years of life lessons I could have learned from him, and for the unkind words I’ve said towards him and about him. But if I’m overwhelmed by anything today, its a sense of gratitude.
For starters, in all my life, I have never heard a negative word said about him. I have found that some of the things I disliked most about my dad were some of the same qualities I have in myself – primarily being extremely sensitive and emotional.
Also turns out that my dad is one of my spiritual ‘anchors’ today. His life experiences, high and low, world travels, own spiritual struggle and awakening…these have all shaped him into the man he is today.
He has also served as a shining example on HOW to love a woman. He has stayed committed and affectionate in his marriage for my entire life. He works to relieve my mother in any way he can, especially now as her health has diminished.
Here is one final poem I’d like to dedicate to my father:
You’ve Been Everything to Me
You’ve been everything to me: a father,
Teacher, playmate, model, conscience, friend.
Sometimes I’m not certain why you bother,
If your feelings on my words depend.
I know I haven’t been the child I should:
Far from it, and I really can’t say why.
I know exactly what I’d label good,
But in the real world something goes awry.
Underneath my actions there is love,
Gratitude, respect, and admiration.
Sometimes I don’t know what I’m thinking of,
But I thank God you’re in for the duration.
I’m sorry, sorry for the things I do,
But please believe I cherish Mom and you.
- Author Unknown
I’m going to leave you with one more brief, thought-provoking piece of writing. I’m including this to remind us all that parents are only capable of SO much. Enjoy!
..and Happy Fathers Day!
What a Parent Cannot Do
I can share your life … but cannot live it for you.
I can teach you things … but I cannot make you learn.
I can give you directions … but I cannot always be there to lead you.
I can allow you freedom … but I cannot account for it.
I can take you to church … but I cannot make you believe.
I can teach you right from wrong … but I cannot always decide for you.
I can make you beautiful clothes … but I cannot make you lovely inside.
I can offer you advice … but I cannot accept it for you.
I can give you love … but I cannot force it upon you.
I can teach you to be a friend … but I cannot make you one.
I can teach you to share … but I cannot make you unselfish.
I can teach you respect … but I cannot force you to show honor.
I can advise you about friends … but I cannot choose them for you.
I can teach you about sex … but I cannot keep you pure.
I can tell you about drinking and drugs … but I cannot say NO for you.
I can tell you about lofty goals … but I cannot achieve them for you.
I can let you work … but I cannot make you responsible.
I can teach you to obey … but I cannot answer for your actions.
I can teach you kindness … but I cannot force you to be gracious.
I can warn you about sin … but I cannot make your morals.
I can love you as a child … but I cannot place you into God’s family.
I can pray for you … but I cannot make you walk with God.
I can teach you about Jesus … but I cannot make Him your Saviour.
I can show you faith … but I cannot make you trust in Christ.
I can teach you about prayer … but I cannot make you pray.
I can tell you how to live … but I cannot give you eternal life.
- Author Unknown
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