I know this is a tad early, but here’s a reflection with Father’s Day around the corner. As I said in my first book, Finding Home, life is wonderful . . . and life is hard. Having moved 23 times as a kid, I’ve experienced my share of both and prefer the good stuff this journey has to offer. Especially considering the train wreck that was characteristic of my childhood. My family put the “D” into Dysfunction. My father stepped out of our cozy home when I was five. Then, at age nine, my mom died. Suddenly, I became an orphan.
I’ve had a few train wrecks.
I’ve had some major highpoints, too.
But in the end, I don’t get to pick the events that impact my life. I have no control over such things. I can allow the difficult times to break me or shape me into a better man. I also mentioned that I when Jean and I were about to have kids, I wrestled with doubt and fear. I wondered whether or not I’d be a good dad, especially since I didn’t have a model of what it means to get down on their level to play, laugh, listen and love well.
Given my deep apprehension about the role of being a father, I prayed and asked God for both the strength and wisdom to do a better job raising my kids than my Dad, who was an alcoholic and gambler, did raising me. To be sure, while he wasn’t perfect, he was still my Dad and I loved and missed him. I just wish part of his legacy was to leave me with a few parenting tools so I’d have confidence raising my kids.
To be sure I’ve made my share of mistakes as a Dad. But by the grace of God, I can say that I love being a father. I’ve found myself captivated by my boys, Trent and Troy. I love spending time with them. I love the way they surprise me with their observations about life. I love wrapping my arms around them when I come home from work.
And I especially cherish their smiles.
Jean snapped this one of Troy the other day. I can’t say I know why he was just parked in a chair on our driveway laughing his little heart out. Whatever his reason, the sheer joy reflected on his face is a real gift to this dad. It’s infectious. No matter how crazy the world seems to get, no matter how hard my day at the office might have been, whenever I look at Troy’s beaming face, I can’t help but thank God for His goodness toward me.
It’s the best feeling in the world. It reminds me that I’m finally home.
Happy (early) Father’s Day!