Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day

It’s Father’s Day.

Twice as I walked into the kitchen the ongoing conversation come to an awkward halt, my wife and kids smiling nonchalantly. I’ve been good not to look under the blanket hiding large boxes in the bedroom corner (how’s that for self control?!).

Despite the commercial hoopla, something about Father's Day makes me feel warm inside.

Becoming a father was very important to me.

It wasn’t easy.

For ten years my wife and I tried to have kids. Those dreams dimmed in ‘87 when she had an infection resulting in the surgical removal of her left fallopian tube.

In 1989 there was laughing and hugging and excited phone calls when Brenda tested positive for a new life within her. There were fears and tears when we discovered it a dangerous tubal pregnancy.

We went ahead with the move to the house in Canby, the one with the empty swing set. That was 1991, a grey year, an overcast season in our lives. We began attending a church led by a pastor my age. The first sermon we heard from him included the announcement that he and his wife were expecting their first child after many years of prayer.

A year later we refinanced that house to hire lawyers, and do a home study, and buy the things we needed to adopt a child. I took that pregnant teen to her appointments, made sure she had enough to eat. And when that little boy was born in August, on Brenda’s birthday, gave him my name.

Three and a half months later, on the morning I took him to see me cut down his first Christmas tree, he died. That was 1992, a dark year. A year that was winter for us.

A year and a half later, after refinancing the house again and jumping through local, state, interstate, and international hoops, we stood in a living room in Fort Meyers, Florida. “Mama Annie,” dashing between laundry, cooking spaghetti, taking out the trash, and running the orphanage, pointed out one of my new sons. He was across a patio, on the other side of two sets of sliding glass doors, and jumping with glee to see me. He was shouting “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!”

My heart nearly burst, it was so full.

Becoming a father was very important to me.

It wasn’t easy.

There have been struggles. Many of those struggles I have shared on these electronic pages. There have been greater joys.

Being a father is very important to me.

I have a program at school to teach kids (and parents) about study skills. It has a lot of features to it, honed over a half dozen years. One feature is a talk I give to help the kids look at what they are doing from different perspective. A part of that little speech includes how their parents want to help them. I tell the kids I know they think adults have some secret knowledge. That there must be a time when someone gives them the secrets of adults which changes them forever, giving them the power, the authority.

I tell the kids that they are right. That there is a moment when adults do get that secret.

I tell them that there was a moment when someone handed their parent a small bundle. And that little bundle was them. That their parent looked down on them and something clicked. Something within their hearts changed and they were no longer the person they had been. That in a single moment all their previous identity had been swept away. They were no longer man, or woman. They were no longer employee or employer, or son, or husband, or man. They were father.

Being a father is very important to me. I dreamed and prayed for it for years. One pregnancy nearly killed my wife. That is a hurt that echoes still. Brenda cried the other night during a show about tubal pregnancies. I have had the dream of a child granted, and had it taken away. I have two children now which give me the worries and challenges and joys and grief of parenting. It is the best of all gigs. Being a father is very important to me.

My son Isaac tells me he is sorry for other kids.

“I feel bad for kids in other families who just get borned. We’re adopted. We got picked!”

Every night I sit on the bed beside my sons, and talk gently about their day. I place a little anointing oil on a finger tip and I pray a prayer for them. I pray for protection, for rest, for the gifts from Him which will help them through the coming day. I give them a quick hug or a small tickle, and tuck them in.

One is a junior, one is a freshman. And though they are practically young men, they are still my boys.

I would do anything for these kids.

I would gladly take their suffering, except I know that suffering usually comes from our own mistakes and they need to learn how to deal with their choices.

I would gladly pay their fines, if the debt was too big for them to pay and there was no other way for them to move on.

I would gladly put myself in harm’s way if it meant protecting them.

All of these things are acts my father has done for me.

Not my biological father.

But my Lord did those things. The triune God sent a part of Himself, His son, to suffer in my place. He paid my debt. He put Himself in harm’s way.

So, on this Father’s Day I have a present for my dad. Not the one in Southern California, but the one everywhere.

Dear Father:

Thank you for all You have done for me.

Thank you for giving me my family, this awesome responsibility. I hope the job I am doing with them pleases You.

Thank you for the many times You have rescued me from the difficulties in my life, even from my own mistakes, my own sins.

There isn’t anything I have that is truly mine to give You... except for one thing. I give You my heart. I dedicate my life to You. You have given me free will, the ability to truly choose. And I choose truly. I choose to follow wherever You will lead.

Thank You Lord.

I pray that the life I live will be pleasing to You.

--Amen.

29 comments:

Cinder said...

What an incredible tribute to your family and to your heavenly father! I hope that you had a very Happy Father's day and I hope your family will feel His richest blessings and love upon you this week.

Blessings to you!

Ame said...

Thank you ... I needed to be reminded that Father God is my Father to honor today. I wrestled all day with whether or not I should send my biological father an email for father's day ... I just did a little bit ago ... before I read this ... I simply said Happy Fathers Day and clicked send.

I needed to hear what you wrote tonight ...

Happy Father's Day to a man who has earned the love and respect of two amazing young men!

Jim said...

Well said, C.S.
'They' say people who don't know their father, paternal, adoptive, foster, or whatever, have a hard time understanding the nature of our God.
I'm very glad these boys have you.
..

Gina said...

beautiful.

curious servant said...

A word about my fonts...

I usually leave the typeface in the "large" setting to make it a touch easier to read. I did not on this post because I think that was the cause for my blog not to read yesterday.

I am sorry if this makes it a little harder to read my blog today. I have some ideas on how to get there, but I will wait until I have more free time.

This week is going to be NUTS! I have so much to do in wrapping up the school year. I would list them (teaching, packing up room, configuring the lab for next year, slide show program on Wed.... ... ...) but it would take too long and I have to get at them. So if I am a little quiet this week... patience please. I shall return!

God bless!

Jada's Gigi said...

God knew we needed mothers and fathers...your sons are very fortunate indeed to be more than borned...:) they are chosen...great picture for us all.
So sorry you're still in school...kids have been out for 3 weeks around here....:) hurry up already!

Vicki said...

Hi C.S ~ I'll pray for you as you tie up the school year. Funny, but I thought I left a comment under this post yesterday. Wonderful tribute, btw.

About Blogger, I've had my share of problems. It hiccups and freezes rather regularly lately--frustrating. Wasn't able to post photos for awhile. Not sure what to do. Sometimes I just give up and come back later, then it's fine. But I have to be sure to save my post in Word document first, since I've lost many a post:-)

Fred said...

Very nice, CS. I hope you had a womderful Father's Day.

jel said...

CS hope you had a great Fathers day!

very cool post,

thanks

SocietyVs said...

Nice post. Always good to hear about someone that values their children, and your tops in my books. Happy Father's Day, I am a day late, then again I am not a father.
Big-ups to parents that lay their lives down on a daily basis.

Paula said...

Happy belated Father's Day to one of the best dad's I know! You're proof that we can take a beating and still keep on believing.

Your Sister In Christ,

nettie said...

That was freaking beautiful.

bjk said...

Thanks for sharing that with us it's why we keep on coming back!

Lorna said...

wonderful. you write so well. you touch the spot ... becauseyour own heart has been touched again and again.

The Lord gives, the Lord takes and we say Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Amen

Anonymous said...

Well said. The other day, my only child (son) broke my heart. Being 12 and half yrs old, the last day of school should have been exciting enough. My ex-wife and I divorced over 5 yrs ago, but remain friends and civil. She has the same dear name as your wife. She recently came down with cancer and is going through chemo, loosing her hair. We've both helped build her spirits by shaving our own heads and supporting her and her new husband. My son made a mistake and took candy from a store. No he's isn't an harden criminal, but it was added stress we didn't need. I made him face his decision. Took him back to the store, to apology to the clerk, even though it was about two dollars worth of candy, I made my son give him twenty dollars, all that my son had in his recent savings. I told him it was punishment for his decision and that he needed to pay more than what he took. When he handed the money to the clerk, the clerk told me he couldn't except because it was more than what my son took. I told him to except it, and that it would make up for other kids that have stolen. I noticed in the clerk his tears, but more importantly I noticed the tears from my son and I. This has only been one week now, but I have seen much growth within my son. I admire you for raising yours and wish you all the best. JK

wilsonian said...

Very beautiful indeed, CS.
As someone who grew without the love of an eartly father, I am stunned and humbled by your efforts to love your children as Christ. You are giving them a life-changing gift. But I guess you already know that. :)

curious servant said...

I appreciate these comment so much. Thank you.

Anon.: I especially feel warmed by your comments. I am so glad that you found something of use in my words. I will say a prayer this orning for you and your family as I do my morning ealk. Gld bles you, my brother.

Wilsonian: I hear an echo of past pain in your words. I will say a prayer for you as well.

Thank you all.

--CS

Joe said...

Thank you for a meaningful Father's Day post!

music.angel said...

“I feel bad for kids in other families who just get borned. We’re adopted. We got picked!” --> Just precious! It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job raising your children. This warmed my heart tonight. Thank you for sharing.

Pia said...

hope you had a wonderful father's day. God bless you, CS.

Judas Hate said...

Amen and Amen.

Suzanne said...

Thank you...needed this.

curious servant said...

I'm a little behind on replying to comments. At this moment I am about 2 hours from home at a hotel in Corvalis, Oregon. Today is the first day of a special two day event: The Special Olympics State Meet.

Jeremiah won a beonze and a silver medal!

Tonight there is a dinner and a dance. But to tell you the truth, I'm worn out and I think Isaac and I will just kick back here in the room.

Brenda will be spending the night chaperoning a female athlete who tends to slip off at night at these sorts of events for a little, socializing.

Music.Angel: That is pretty cute, isn't!?! I'm a very fortunate man to have such great kids. I just asked him if there was anything he would like to add about adoption. He says: "One disadvantage is not knowing what the birth parents look like or act, but again, that might be an advantage."

Pia: Thanks!

JH: Nice to hear from you! I'll drop by your place soon.

Suzanne: I'm sorry if things have been tough for you later. I hear a little stress in your comment. I'll drop by soon and see how I can pray for you.


Well... I think I'll jump in the shower. It was 93 degrees today which is more than us web-foots are used to.

Judas Hate said...

:-)

I will be as the wind. They'll never see me comin or goin, but they'll damn sure know I was there:-)

Thanks for always being there and knowing just the right thing to say.

Be well and happy.

Love to you and yours my friend.

Ishmael's Brother said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ishmael's Brother said...

I like this post!

I've been reading you for a while. I hope you do not mind if I link to your page.

I just created a blog yeaterday. Drop by some time and let me know what you think.

curious servant said...

I have no clue what is going on with my blog lately!

I posted this weekend and have had nothing but probblems with it.

Finally I deleted it.

I'll try again in a day or so. I'm tired of wrestling with it for now.

My posts are going ot be sporadic for a bit here.

We're going on a ROAD TRIP!

We are heading East. Yellowstone is a general target.

Later!

jel said...

have a safe and fun trip!

Lillee said...

What a great post about the servantude (spelling? :))) of being a parent. That's what parenting is, ya know, giving up your own selfish desire to parent a child. Putting them before you..kind of like Our Father did.