Wishing all the men a Happy Father’s Day and a giant Thank You for the difference you make to children. God Bless You!
“Being a father has been, without a doubt, my greatest source of achievement, pride and inspiration. Fatherhood has taught me about unconditional love, reinforced the importance of giving back and taught me how to be a better person.”
Yesterday morning after I finished my run, I walked out on the pier that graces the park, as I usually do, to enjoy the view while I cooled down, stretched, and practiced some end-of-workout meditation. Usually, I’m alone on that pier because it’s typically early in the morning.
Yesterday morning was one of the rare occasions I wasn’t alone out there. Besides the birds flying overhead, including the eagles that frequent that area, there was a young man on his cell phone, oblivious to my presence. His cap was cocked a bit, his pants riding too low, feet shuffling in contradiction to the attitude he worked hard to portray. I wasn’t fooled. Something about him touched my heart.
I felt like it wouldn’t have been a bad idea to turn around and leave, leaving him to his private conversation, but hearing what he said to the person on the other end made me unable to turn away.
“My dad called me, dude, and he said, ya know, I’m really sorry for what I done. I know I never got to know Cory very much and what I done was really messed up. I shoulda at least called. And then he says…”
Those words, and the ones that followed, were laced with some colorful expletives, but I saw that young man as a confused little boy who was trying to make sense of words spoken by a father who had been missing from his life.
I walked out of listening range to allow him privacy, yet nonchalantly watched his body language say what I couldn’t hear his words say.
My heart broke for him.
Having worked with children from broken families when I was a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), and in the counseling office of a high school, I saw so many confused, neglected children trying to make sense of life. And oftentimes those children made poor choices in the process. Choices that unfortunately too often defined who they were to the people subjected to those choices. People who didn’t know their story.
While I’m not making excuses for negative behavior, and I certainly believe consequences are necessary to teach (teach, not punish), I think it’s important to also understand what these children may have lived through. And may be still living with. The hell that is very possibly their reality on a daily basis. There were more than a couple of times that I spoke with my husband about a troubled child and told him I so wished I could take him/her home to show him/her what love, stability and safety look like. To which my practical husband responded the same way each time. “Honey, they aren’t puppies. You can’t just take them home.” 🙂
With Father’s Day just around the corner, I wanted to give a shout out to all the father’s, stepfathers, uncles, grandpas–to all men–to never underestimate the powerful role you play in the lives of the children whose lives you touch. They see and hear so much more than you realize. Especially by what is not being said or done. Be courageous and fearless in teaching them morals and values, in loving them no matter what and through all things. Thank you for making the difference in the life of a child–if even just one. Because that one will make a difference to another, and that one to another…
“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
Parenting may not be a walk in the park, but as happens with a walk in the park, it’s a beautiful process. One in which you can see the fruits of your labor, some seasons just happen to be better and easier than others.
When I left the park, that young man was still talking on the phone with the same intensity as when I first came by him. My heart gave him a hug and I prayed for him and for all the lost and hurting children.
I’ve been a lazy blogger the past week. That being said, I’ve been breathing new life into revising my novel, The Inheritance, and I’m seeing the final touches being completed in the very near future. Near, as in by mid-June. 🙂
My husband and I are taking a much needed vacation this next week–leaving in the morning–so I will resume blogging after we get back home.
In the meantime, I’m re-posting what I wrote for last Mother’s Day, a day that was so spiritually lifting it took my breath away.
I would like to wish all mothers, wanna-be mothers, aunts, grandmas, moms to pets, and any woman who cares for a child, regardless of whether you gave birth to them or not, a very happy Mother’s Day. Celebrate YOU, the LOVE you give, and the DIFFERENCE you make in the life a child.
And here’s the re-blog:
True to form, my husband agreed to do whatever I wanted to do for Mother’s Day, wanting to be sure my day was perfect. My list consisted of two things: our first bike ride of the season, 30 miles round trip along the Platte River Trail to Confluence Park in Denver, enhanced by getting a treat from Starbucks, of course, followed by a BBQ in our backyard with my kids. We were on the bike path by 9:00 a.m., the slightest breeze, sun shining bright, trees budding like crazy, grass green as be. I was in a state of awe as I breezed along the path, all of my senses aroused and drinking in the beauty that surrounded me. And all I could do was pray, giving thanks to a God who is so amazing to care about the most insignificant parts of my life, making them so significant.I saw the wild flowers sprinkled throughout the open fields, like paint on a canvas, and gave thanks for the blessings, too numerous to count, sprinkled throughout each of my days.
I saw three small children lined up on a fallen log like baby birds in a nest, reaching up to the man standing before them patiently providing water and nourishment for the next leg of their journey. I gave thanks for the supply of living water and spiritual nourishment He provides me to sustain me on my journey of life.In the river below the bank I saw the flowing ripples from a duck that had taken flight. I gave thanks for a God who flows through my veins with love and grace to create the ripple effect to those He brings me to.
A woman in fragile health, wearing a mask protecting her mouth and nose from breathing the dust in the air, yet not afraid to go out and breathe in the beauty of the earth, smiled at me, the gentle crinkling at the corner of her eyes, as she walked past. I thanked Him for my health and for his loving Spirit flowing to me through others.
I heard a baby crying in a meshed carriage being pulled behind a bike, and I watched the mother stop to comfort her child. I thought of Mary on this blessed Mother’s Day, the perfect example of obedience and motherhood, bearing and raising a son that became my savior. And I gave thanks for the privilege of being a mother.
In the heat and stillness of mid-summer, with a not-distant-enough sewage treatment plant along one portion of the river, where I usually strengthen my breath holding skills, this particular day I inhaled the sweet fragrance of crab apple blossoms in the gentle spring breeze. And I gave thanks for the ability to smell such sweetness.
As we walked in the park and I saw a disheveled man, sleeping soundly through the activity happening around him, back pack askew, I thanked God for my home and for the strength to get off the elevator of alcoholism before it hit the bottom floor. And I prayed for this man. That he would find the loving God that has blessed me beyond what I can possibly begin to comprehend.His goodness is everywhere, in everything, and in everyone. I’ve come to believe that what I look for, I will find. If I look for His blessings and His goodness, I will see it. Each morning upon waking, I have a choice whether I will see goodness. And I pray each day I choose wisely.
Share with me what you are grateful for today at this very moment.
July is just around the corner, a month that used to be a childhood favorite with 4th of July celebrations of parades lined with colorful floats and marching high school bands, the oohs and ahs while watching amazing firework displays explode and cascade into the brightest colors high in the ink sky, baseball games, watermelon, family fun…everything that is summer. The past several years, however, have made me a bit apprehensive as it nears.
Experiences will do that. Alter the way one sees things. Kind of the same way an opinion forms around a name because of someone you once knew with that name.
Or the way I can get squeamish in a hospital because of something that is reminiscent of an unpleasant memory.
Too many painful events began happening each July several years ago, and I realized the approach of the last couple found me holding my breath in fear.
Wishing an entire month quickly away. Waiting…waiting…until the last day arrived and I could breathe a little bit easier. Walk a little bit lighter.
This year it occurred to me, whether it was a God moment or spiritual experience is up for interpretation. Either one is God speaking to me through life experiences. Using what He knows will get my undivided attention.
That deeply embedded fear is nothing but lack of faith in a God who can orchestrate all aspects from those too small to see to those that can seem larger than life itself.
Rather than wait for the bad to happen, allowing fear and anxiety to entwine its tentacles into every area of my life, I can give thanks for what I have, placing my focus on good and God.
A Good God. All powerful God.
If something happens that is unpleasant, I can know and be secure in the knowledge that God can, and will, take me through it if I allow Him. I can be grateful for the opportunity to practice leaning on Him. An opportunity to practice perseverance.
When good things happen, which He makes sure does for His children, free of self-involved fear, I can be fully present to be aware of and enjoy it, rather than miss it while in the throes of wishing the month away.
And what an amazing opportunity to get some good quality writing done. When emotions are raw, whether joy or pain, is when the most poignant writing is created. The most memorable stories. Words that flow from a heart that is beating and feeling the pulse of life.
I will likely remember the near-death accident involving my child, but I will celebrate the fact that he is still with me. Whole and healthy. Because of a loving God who rescued him, knowing his mom had a whole lot of love to lavish on him.
Rather than feel pain at the sight of a dragonfly, a symbol so important to a lost loved one, I can look at it as a sign from a loving God that my loved one is still around me. Free.
I will strive to help victims of crime, giving them empathy and compassion as only one who has experienced it can. And I will celebrate the fact that I am a blessed survivor. Because of a loving God who cares about me so much He saved me from what could have been.
I will remember a lost family pet, loved as no other pet ever was, and be grateful we found such a wonderful shelter dog to rescue and love.
This July, rather than wait for it to close, the curtains down, I will truly live, love, and experience every moment, every day as a new story to be told and lived.
Grace to You.