To The Grieving Father on Father’s Day.
We human beings did not invent fatherhood. We are a product of fathers and mothers, and we become fathers and mothers, because that is the nature of our existence. It is profoundly important, being the way of the Universe.
But we did create Fathers Day. It’s a nice gesture. It reminds us to call home. And it gives another thing we created — commerce — a boost once a year. But it’s only important to us because we made it up, and choose to consider it important.
Believe it or not, some of us still need to be reminded of how separate these two concepts are. Many of us fathers who have lost a child might dread Fathers Day, because the conditions are perfect therein for us to feel left out, self-conscious, or worse, embarrassed, like showing up for Father and Son Day at the ballpark, without a son.
But Fathers Day is just a play thing. Fatherhood is the real thing. And the two are so far apart from one another that, at times, they might even suggest opposing ideas. We designate Fathers Day as the one day out of all 365 to honor our fathers. But fatherhood is a constant whole, undivided by days and nights. Honoring our fathers should be happening every day. (It’s like the pride we take in practicing “random acts of kindness.” Kindness is not supposed to be random. It is supposed to be the rule, not the exception.)
To create life as a parent is a sacred privilege. We resulting human beings are usually eager and are well meaning. But we can’t truly honor Fatherhood with a new tie once a year.
So I will not sweat this day. I will continue to try and lift myself above our silly day-to-day human distractions — shopping, errands, greeting cards and parties. Continue to make relationships at higher levels. And keep in mind that fatherhood is necessary for life itself, while Fathers Day is necessary for sales at Macys.
Finally, nobody knows better than you do how easily taken for granted it is having your child with you, here and now. So do call your father. His gift is that you are still here to make the call.