Most children grow up ranking Mother's Day and Father's Day among the "lesser" holidays of the modern calendar, with nowhere near the level of interest of, say, Christmas and Easter. On these days, you see, we kids get something ... even if we are required to stop and think about the reason for the season. Perhaps holidays are a reminder that we are inherently selfish creatures, and a challenge to live beyond that and to put others first.
Such it is with Father's Day, the day beyond all days where we pause to honor our fathers and the part they have played in our lives. But Father's Day 2005 was unique and poignant in my life: My father passed away in March. I certainly spent this Father's Day thinking about him, but I cannot offer more of a tribute than what was already shared at his memorial service (read).
In April, Christy and I were stunned to learn that we'd finally managed to get pregnant. In less than nine months, I would be a father myself. That is not an easy concept to grasp; I recognize that my life will be completely altered overnight, that there will be this small human who will rely on me for all of his or her needs -- physical, mental, emotional, and perhaps even spiritual. But I have no way to imagine what daily life will be like.
We have been trying to conceive for some time, and we had also known for some time that Dad's condition was terminal. With every visit home we knew it might be the last goodbye, and I so wanted him, if he could not meet and hold my child, at least to know that our first child was on the way. I wonder why God waited until only days after his passing to bless us in this way.
Last Sunday I lived a single Father's Day in between; my own father has gone, and my son or daughter is being created before my eyes. Next year, I will be the father. But this year, in between, may I honor the Father of us all, who gives new life with his left hand and draws waning life to him with his right, building us all up in the image of Christ. I thank him for who my dad is, for who I am, and for who my child will be.
Joshua Oliver Sumner Born December 5, 2005 9:32 p.m.
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