Yesterday my roommates and I sat in our living room talking about how wonderful our fathers are. Talking about some of the loving things our fathers have done for us. Talking about how grateful we are to have our fathers. It was a bittersweet conversation, it was driven by the knowledge that so many of the children we love are growing up without knowing their fathers.
The first summer I was at Camp Peace one of my boys asked, “How many times have you seen your dad?” As if it was a typical getting-to-know-you type question. I’ve seen my dad nearly every day of my life.
A little while before I moved to Victory the father of one of our ten year olds died. He was in Jamaica and I don’t think the boy actually knew him.
Yesterday Pipes was talking to another of our ten year old boys. She told him he was an amazing leader, and she told him that he surely knew himself, “I don’t know myself… I don’t know my father…” His father passed away when he was four. They talked awhile about how God is our father, “I know that God’s my father.” he told her, “But it’s just different to have a physical father.”
And we just can’t understand.
One day we listened to a song for a presentation. That song told a very meaningful story: A women has a child only to have the father claim it isn’t his and leave. The child grows up and starts living the same type of life that his father had.
The father sees a young man on his turf and tells him to leave, the boy does not budge.
“Instead he pulled out a newer thirty-eight snub
He clearly had the drop but the boy just paused (hold up)
There was somethin’ in this man’s face he knew he seen before
It’s like, lookin’ in the mirror seeing himself more mature
And he took it as a sign from the almighty Lord
You know what they say about he who hesitates in war”
So the story ends with the father unknowingly killing his own son. Not something that’s likely to happen.
But there’s so much truth in it. One of the last lines is: “Be a father, you’re killing your sons.”
Later that same day Pipes handed me an ear bud to listen to the song “Best Day” by Taylor Swift. It’s a story as well. A story about how a dad who was there her whole life making every problem melt away, just with his presence. That’s a story I can relate to.
I couldn’t get over the contrast between the two songs.
I can’t get over the contrast between the way I grew up and the way they’re growing up.
We pray that when these boys grow up they’ll end the cycle.
They’ll be great and godly fathers who are present in their kid’s lives.
Only God can end cycles of sin and hurt and injustice.
So mostly we pray that these boys will find Him in a real and powerful way.
That He’ll teach them what a true and loving father is.