After my dad passed away, I felt a bit like an orphan.
At the time, my mom had already been gone for many years. Then when my dad went on to the Great Golf Clubhouse in Heaven, I found myself parentless for the first time. Luckily, I still had my father-in-law, who became like a second father to me. He was so easy to love, a consummate gentleman, and a class act. He lived with such profound kindness and grace every day until he died this year at age 97.
Even though he was formerly a high-powered, New York City executive, he carried himself with deep compassion and care for all who crossed his path. He could recall names and details of people's lives with such clarity - from his caregivers to neighbors and janitors. Even the names of friends' pets were not lost on him. I'll never forget my goodbyes after visiting. As I prepared to leave, he would grip my hands tightly and tell me how much loved me. He never missed a moment to remind me how proud he was of me and grateful that I was part of his life. What a gift to be loved like that.
Now that he's gone, it would be natural to feel like an orphan again. But looking back, I'm beginning to see there were actually many fathers who nurtured me along the way.
There was Rev. Robert Davis who gave me my first Bible and let me tag along with him to play tennis many Saturdays. There was Mr. Correll, my high school journalism teacher, who breathed life into my dreams of writing, and when necessary, encouraged me to break the rules. I was lucky enough to have many bosses who treated me as a well-cared-for daughter -- rescuing me when my car broke down, warning me against bad people, guarding me against difficult clients, coaching me through job layoffs, and when I was without a job, reminding me often of my best qualities.
I'm so grateful to have two earthly fathers who cared for me deeply. I recognize this is not everyone's experience. But more than having two dads and fatherly encouragers, I'm most thankful for my heavenly Father who will always cover me with His goodness.
What About You? Who Has Fathered You Well?
Whatever your father status - a dad here on earth, in heaven, far away, or near, my encouragement is to consider gratitude this Father's Day. More than that, I hope you can expand your mindset to consider who has fathered you in love, regardless if you call them dad.
When you begin to see the bigger vision, you can't help but be in awe of how you have been shaped by a Father who adores you.