Yesterday was Father’s Day. For those keeping score at home, it was the 113th anniversary of the holiday, a day that finds its origin in the genius of a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd.
Ironically, Mrs. Dodd was inspired to set aside the day to honor her own father while listening to a sermon on Mother’s Day in Spokane, Washington. It was May of 1909. The first Father’s Day celebration was held the next June 19th, 1910. It took several years for the idea to wind its way through Congress and 62 years until the third Sunday in June was designated as the day of its permanent national observance.
As the father of two boys, the day gives rise to a number of thoughts and emotions. How great it is to be a dad to sons. There aren’t enough words to adequately capture my gratitude for the privilege of joining Jean in the task of raising Trent and Troy.
Those listening to the Focus broadcast last week heard me talk about how much I enjoy coming home and being greeted at the door by these two rambunctious young men. We inevitably wrestle and play and laugh. It is often the very best part of my day. In fact, it’s very often the most substantive, too.
When I’m old and gray and the boys are grown and gone, the memories of that happy laughter and this innocent era will echo in my mind.
Will I look back with a sense of peace and joy? Or, will I have regrets and wonder what could have been? I strikes me that the key to living a regret-free life is often found in one’s ability to see the end at the beginning.
When our house becomes quiet and tidy, and the curtain falls on my job of intense day-to-day parenting, what will I remember about these days? If you’re a father, what will you recall? Here are some of the things I will remember . . .
Hearing their first cries and holding Trent and Troy tight, scared to death that I would drop them, but knowing I never would . . . Late-night drives around a dark neighborhood to soothe a colicky baby …
First steps, first words and last-minute, midnight toy assembly jobs on Christmas Eve . . . The pain of leaving on long ministry trips to faraway places, and the joy of reunions at airports . . . Vacations on a tight budget—cold and wet tents, cars and trailers that won’t run and kids that won’t stop . . .
Skinned knees, bloody noses and a cell phone call about a DVD player that has caught on fire . . . Teaching them how to fish . . . Jumping on the trampoline, riding bikes, playing tag in a dark house . . . Ballgames and board games . . .
And, best of all, seeing their eyes light up and their hearts open up to the reality of the Gospel and the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
These are only a smattering of the memories that time won’t scatter . . . because in the end, these are among the few things that will really matter.