I began writing this as a Facebook status update after waking up again this week, the week leading up to Father’s Day, with heaviness. It started to get long, and then it hit me in my pre-caffeinated state that I have a blog. Duh!
Father’s Day. It’s this week. It’s in just a few days. I’m sure you knew. It’s everywhere. Every advertising email reminds us to get a gift for Father’s Day. Every commercial is full of ideas for Father’s Day gifts. Even Food Network shows are offering meal ideas in abundance. Kroger even has manly food on sale. It’s everywhere.
I beg you all to not just pray for me or my brother this Father’s Day, but for anyone who lost a father this year or any year. They (counselors, fellow grievers, grief books and blogs) say the first year of every holiday is the worst. Father’s Day feels like a different kind of worse. It’s sort of like waiting for a category five hurricane to hit or waiting for a tornado to pass while hiding in your bathroom when the sirens go off. It’s heavy. It’s scary. I read this from a blog by someone who lost their dad 10 years ago,
“Ever since, I have felt the most raw and exposed on Father’s Day and on the anniversary of the day he died, Feb. 15. It’s like a wild hunger. No amount of time could ever fully heal the pain. Father’s Day, in particular, will always make that hole inside me feel deeper because my loss becomes a lot more obvious. While everyone else is gathering to show their love for their dad, I am in mourning.” (from The Globe and Mail)
And he wrote that 10 years after losing his dad. So remember the fatherless in your life this Father’s Day. Celebrate! Enjoy your dad. Love him. Buy him a gift no matter how silly or last minute it is. Make him his favorite cake, even if it’s from a box. Tell him you love him. Take a picture with him, you probably don’t have enough. Call him. Do anything and everything you can. And when you’re done enjoying every possible moment with your dad you can, pray for us. The fatherless, the widows, the ones without their sons or brothers this Father’s Day.
And if my plea and words aren’t convincing enough, I’m pretty sure the Heavenly Father is okay with you thinking and praying for us too.
“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” Deuteronomy 10: 17-18
“When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.” Deuteronomy 24:19-21
“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.” Psalm 10:14
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” Psalm 68:5
“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.” Psalm 82:3
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
If you’re fatherless this Father’s Day, grieve how you need to! If you need to skip church and the Father’s Day service every church will inevitably have, you have permission. Take your Bible somewhere else and spend some time with Jesus. He knows you’re hurting. Take at least a moment in the day to let the Heavenly Father love you. Cry, weep, mourn. And then if you’re up for it, remember. Remember him.
I’m not going to church Sunday either. Or to Starbucks, too many people that might see me cry. I’m going to a coffee shop that’s a little quieter on Sundays, spending time with my Heavenly Father on my own. I’ll cry. Well, I’ll cry more. This whole week has been full of tears. But I’ll cry. And then I’ll remember with people who can handle it and understand that it’s okay to be sad and happy at the same time. The mother of the son who wrote the blog post I quoted earlier puts a yearly memorial in their local paper that reads, “My happiness is filled with sadness without you to share it with.”
Grieve how you need to! If that means being alone, it’s okay! But if you don’t want to be alone, surround yourself with people who will remember with you. I am planning a remember meal for my brother, my friend who also lost her dad this year, our friend who loves us, and myself. The whole meal will be made up of the favorite foods of my dad and my friend’s dad. There will be a lot, but my favorite plan is to make my dad’s favorite cake, German Chocolate. I’ve made it for him before, but used a box cake and pre-made icing. It’s always been a somewhat scary task, HOMEMADE German Chocolate cake, but I’m proudly taking on the challenge for him.