Happy No Father’s Day to the multitudes who completely understand this title, and for all the ones who have no concept of what a daddy is except for what they learned while watching the Hallmark specials at Christmastime. Give yourself a happy day. Yes, you are a survivor. You may walk with a hidden limp inside your soul, but you are rugged and deserve to give yourself a pat on the back for doing so well. Look around. We are a nation of the fatherless.
When the wounded returned from World War II, many were hurt so deep that escaping into a bottle was the treatment of choice. PTSD and the therapy for it was reserved for those who were non-functional; the majority had to man up and return to the business of living. These tough guys had damage to their souls equally severe but they struggled as aging, brave soldiers to maintain, to provide, to continue. Their detachment produced sons bereft of a daddy’s love and involvement, sons who grew up to tame their passions in a drugged fog; their daughters grew to believe a father shouldn’t be expected to invest himself to any great degree in a child’s life. Men were disposable. Still looking for the prince of their fairy tales, these women embarked on an endless search for the one who would heal the deep hurt and fill the missing places in their lonely hearts. The happy ending for the princess was over, but their children still lived. Collateral damage, they were cast adrift.
The Vietnam War complicated everything. Young men were sent off to have the rest of their idealism destroyed and upon their return these survivors were dishonored and hated. Those who never saw the things they saw and never experienced the things they did would never know the hell they had just walked through, the good men they watched die horrible deaths for reasons they could not justify. These broken men married wives and had children who were destined to become widows and orphans while a living father remained under the same roof.
The walking ghosts back from Vietnam and the rebellious draft dodgers had much in common. All were disillusioned. Both groups joined together with shared drug use and a third group, the righteous majority, persecuted them. Their marriages were doomed to fail, and the kids they produced walked away wounded from a war they never learned about in history, the destruction of the family. These were children nurtured by endless sitcoms on television, Disney movies and Hallmark Channel, day care and grandmothers, take-out Chinese and phone-in pizzas. Most of what their spirits were fed, however, was more sinister, and a dark age of media reflected the soul of a broken nation. Latch-key kids taught their mothers how to program the video machines and when she left for work they quickly reset the parental controls. When she caught on, she was more proud of their abilities rather than reacting in shock from learning what they were watching. After all, life sucked. It was better they learned the raw truth now and avoid the disappointment later. The days of Sunday School were over.
Self gratification rose to epic proportions and parental guilt was capitalized on by these narcissistic hatch-lings. No more faith in any benevolent deity, no more senseless idealism, no more apple pie after church suppers. The family had become a place to escape, if it even existed. Death was more to be desired than life. Look around and see the end product of consecutive generations of fatherless. They fill the nation, the land of the free and home of the brave. Truly, they are brave.
I applaud you who are still standing, you who never knew a father’s love, you who remain determined within your spirit to enjoy this gift of life, a life given to you by a father. It may be the only good thing he will ever give you. The Bible has an interesting way of measuring a soul’s declaration of love for God. It pins the sum total of that love on how one regards the abandoned and the fatherless. Apparently this has been going on for a long time. It remains the focus of God’s attention and the way He keeps the score card of what matters in this life of human interaction. He has called it right. True religion is the way we treat the abandoned, the fatherless, the widows, the ones who never knew who they were supposed to be. Fathers are supposed to give that gift, the gift of identity, the gift of worth. If the gift isn’t given, the need never goes away to have it. His Word tells us to look around to all of the needy and start giving it.
I have a Fatherless Day gift for you.
It is a song from Misty Edwards that will speak to your fatherless heart. We are all broken and we come from broken men, even the best of us are broken. It’s going to be all right, though. We can get our identity from our heavenly Father. He covers our weaknesses, our downfalls, our failings. He covers us and will never forsake us, unlike the rest of the world and the people living in it.
I also have a challenge. God measures our spirituality and our religious beliefs on how they translate to our willingness to love the fatherless. Since all ages in our nation today are satiated with widows and fatherless, how is our score card coming along with doing the loving thing?