What’s a Father?

Father Day approaches. It and Mother’s Day are the two most difficult holidays to discuss and celebrate as a pulpit minister. Why? Because of the relationships and ideas that are experienced and believed about fathers. Many have not had the best of relationships with their fathers. Some have had none at all. Some relationships are downright tragedies.

Because Father’s Day approaches, fathers are on my mind once again. We are exploring fairy tales this month, so it is the perfect connection. What I am discovering is that fathers in fairy tales are quite like the present experiences many of us have with our fathers.

For example, many of the fairy tale father’s are overbearing, exerting control over their children. Some are negligent, relegating the life of their children to a mother. Some father’s are non-existent – dead. The child is left on their own to find their life’s journey. There are fathers that cannot protect their children like the one in Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast.

And then, the greatest father of all is the one we read about in the Bible, who apparently gave up his own son, sending him to die for the sins of mankind. He is said to be judgmental and loving at the same time. He is off somewhere waiting to see if we will be good or bad girls and boys and to decide if we can live with him again.

These are the messages that have been handed down to us generation after generation. Where did they begin? I believe these stories are the stories of our own making. We have created our image of father in our own likeness. These fathers of the story world have never been seen by anyone. However, we emulate them to a T. What came first – the chicken or the egg?

Fathers are just little boys brought up by other fathers who thought they knew best. They’ve been thrown out of heaven, too. They’ve been given responsibilities and jobs and have expectations put on them. They are looking around the world for a good example of what it is to be a father. The only thing for them are more lost fathers. We are caught in a a never-ending spiral.

So what is the answer? There is one, you know. There is always an answer. There is always truth beneath the rubble, and there is one underneath the rubble of fatherhood. What if we could reframe the whole story? What if we could “Once Upon a Time” it all again? What if we could reframe the whole idea of father? We made up the first one, so why can’t we make up a new story? Why can’t we see things for what they were and move on? The Truth is we can. The Truth is we must if we want to evolve as a species. Many fathers have already begun, though we do not read about them much.

We must forgive the fathers and the sins they’ve supposedly laid upon us. We must create a new image of Father. A Father with a bit of yin and a bit of yang. A Father of Love. This father is not outside of us nor can we put expectations on others to be this Father to us.

There is only one place to find this Father. In actuality, he/she has been here all the time. The poets and mystics have sung about him. He is as close as our breath, not sitting on a star somewhere. Perhaps it is better not to call him Father. Perhaps it is better just to call him you and me. Perhaps it is better to call him Love.

We have been born of Love; and if we take the time to sit in the quiet of that idea, we will find a father (or call him what you may) that surpasses all understanding. Edwene Gaines, the metaphysician and writer used to say, “God didn’t make grandkids” In other, words we have the direct connect to the Divine. Biologically speaking, we are born of flesh, but flesh is Spirit and our true creator is Love.

Our true father is neither negligent, nonexistent, abusive, or any of the models we have created and experienced. Our true Father is Us. Our True Father is really whatever we can conceive him to be.

I invite us all to take a moment as we approach Father’s Day and know that we are at choice right here and now to forgive the past and re-parent ourselves. To re-claim our Father and live in the comfort and peace of Its Presence.

Once Upon a Time, the children woke up from the nightmare. They looked up at the blue sunny sky, and they wondered what there ever was to be afraid of. They felt the comfort of knowing that everything is possible, guidance and direction is always here, there are always breadcrumbs on the path leading home, that thorns and spindles are things of the past. All that remained was a deep, abiding peace and love. All is well; in fact, it had always been well.

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