By Melissa Price
The third Sunday in June is the day reserved to celebrate and “honor fathers and fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society.” The day will be bittersweet for some sons and daughters as they cherish memories of fathers who have passed on. Some new fathers will hold their infant child as a new daddy for the first time. Families will bring gifts or send cards in appreciation of the father figures in their lives. Traditionally, it’s the one day of the year when Dad is given the day off to enjoy being, well, Dad.
There were so many directions this article could have taken. The history of Father’s Day was a little short and dry. Writing about DIY gift ideas, places to eat, menus to plan, or activities to chair seemed a little overdone. Tributes to my own father and husband were considered, but I got a cheesy vibe each time I tried to begin an introduction. What seemed most fitting to write about took weeks to take a hold of me and presented itself in the most unlikely of places—while I was preparing to serve lunch to the homeless in the park.
Monthly, my church serves lunch to approximately one hundred homeless men and women after we all join together for a church service in the park. Volunteers help prepare casseroles, vegetables, and dessert, while others donate money and paper products. This month was our fourth year ministering to these wonderful individuals.
How do the homeless and Father’s Day connect, you ask? As I have sat with and served these folks, I have also been blessed by their testimonies and song and praises for these past several years and the one thing they truly believe is that God is their Father. I have heard sermons and been part of studies that probe the question: “Who is God to you?” Answers ranged from “Daddy God” to “My Lord” to “Father.” It dawned on me that my Heavenly Father should be remembered on Father’s Day alongside my own biological father and husband! How have I been missing that all these years?
When homeless individuals share testimonies before the park church service begins, they each step up to the microphone and share air time with chattering squirrels and singing birds. I have never heard one of them feel sorry for themselves or blame anyone or anything else for their circumstances. Instead, with each praise they thank their Father for all He has done for them. In freezing temperatures, “Thank you, Father”; when they can’t make it to a transition home for a safe and decent night’s sleep, “Thank you, Father”; when they are facing their demons day-to-day, “Thank you, Father”; when sickness strikes, their back packs have been stolen, they don’t have soap for washing or shoes that fit—“Thank you, Father.” Such thankfulness from those who have so little sets a high bar of gratitude for the rest of us. They remember to appreciate the Father God each day.
I reflected recently on the things I have always considered qualities that make a good father, and the things that I would tell both my father and husband that I admire in them. I love boldness, yet quiet confidence. Having patience, being a good provider, and a firm yet fair disciplinarian are respected. Someone who listens and gives sound advice and who is also playful and loving and dependable are just a few more highly regarded father-like qualities. For years I have associated these qualities within my own family. This year I openly value them in the heavenly Father as well.
When Father’s Day arrives again this year, I have a few things planned. To begin the day, my children and I will surprise my husband with a delicious breakfast in bed. He will enjoy a day of leisure (including visiting with his own father), his favorite meal, and some gifts. I will visit my father and bring him a card and gifts and we’ll laugh about flashbacks like, “Do you remember that time…?”
Each of these men in my life will know how much they are appreciated! But this year, I will also add time alone to thank God for the Father He is to me each day. As His child, I am still being raised in my daily walk. Another year older and wiser, I want to thank Him and talk to Him for that gained knowledge. I will feed on His Word, and in turn will share the gifts He has given me with others. I will celebrate Him!
This year, Father’s Day will have an additional father for me to celebrate, and I am grateful to be His daughter. I am also grateful to be Mike’s daughter and that Chris is “Daddy” to our children. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads—on earth and in heaven!
Melissa Price is a homeschool mother to her son and daughter. She loves her herbs and bees and watching her pigs grow! During the winter months, browsing seed catalogs and drinking hot chocolate at night make for a perfect evening.