Life rolls along and your self image stays static for long periods of time. It takes certain events, whether sudden and jarring, or small and continuous to move you along to realize, after long consideration, that you're getting old.
Father's Day was one of those moments. My sister put together a display of the flag that was draped over my father's casket at Arlington National Cemetery, along with several of the medals that he was awarded during his service in the U.S. Army. Along with it she gave me two photos.
I've seen the pictures before. They are great. But I've always looked at them as if this man was immensely older than I and bigger than life. I realized while looking at them on Sunday that he was younger than I am now when the photos were taken. The one from Viet Nam was taken when he was a mere 29! Then I looked over at my four small children, and realized, that I am that guy now. I am the old guy.
My children will look upon pictures of me some day in the same way. It is a strange feeling. I am not sad, but for the moment feel "connected" to my past and future. A strange sensation. I try and glimpse what my children may think when they are older and hope that photos of me will inspire feelings of love and security and all of the good things that father's are supposed to provide for their children. But I just can't know for sure. Perhaps as I write these thoughts down, they can find my writings some day and know that I love them all, each individually, each differently, each completely in a way that is complete and consuming.
I have to trust in the Lord that His plan for them is right and just, and do my best to remind them every day that I love them. But I also know that I will fail in some way or another or even completely in some regard and that only God can provide that complete fatherly love that each and every one of us needs and yearns for.
I thought it was scary getting married. Jumping into a river, the destination of which I did not know, the hazards I did not know, I could not plan for everything. I had to take a leap of faith that we would grow together. And we have. Thank you Lynn.
That leap is much broader, and the chasm much deeper, and the river much rougher, with each and every child that I have. The weight of fatherhood has settled upon my mind this week and it is an awesome thing.
I pray that when I go down to the final river, my own father will be waiting on the other side to greet me and my Father in Heaven will explain to me the mysteries that bind my thoughts and that He will fill me with the love of God.
Happy Father's Day Dad. I miss you.