There is no Father’s Day card.
There is no square, no rectangle of blue and brown, no words calligraphed over sepia tones or black and white photos.
The words written between the folds are not true for everyone.
There is no card when there has been no fathering.
I used to be jealous of the shoulder-to-shoulder human clump feigning politeness as it moved collectively bumping up against the card display trying to find the perfect words and the perfect picture for the perfect dad.
I’ve wanted to tell that clump “You’re looking in the wrong place”, but that would have been unkind.
Yet, it’s the truth.
We won’t find what we’re looking for on this terra firma.
Since we are hard-wired to celebrate, so we must.
Every third Sunday in June our culture tells us to celebrate a person who, for many of us, should be celebrated.
Both a father and a mother are to be honored…we are commanded by the One Who holds us in the palm of His Hand to do that very thing.
His commands are a part of His brilliance. He knows that honoring yields a blessing.
But what of the father…or mother…who leaves?
What of the father who forsakes the job of fathering?
What of the mother who forsakes the natural ache of mothering?
There is no card for that.
Yet the command to honor is not dependent on whether the cards lining the box store shelves ring true or not.
Honor your father and mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Millions of hearts hang heavy on a day set aside to celebrate the staying father, the present mother, because they do not know what I know.
I know the pain of relationship breaking and relationship re-building can be some of the best part of me.
I know that there is a Father who will never leave me or forsake me.
I know that abandonment is not the final word on the trajectory of my life.
I know that when I choose to honor no matter what circumstance surrounds me I live under the smile of God.
There is no card that expresses honestly what is in my heart so I don’t join the human clump jostling about the card aisle.
Instead, I celebrate the man, my terra firma father, on the day God brought him from the womb, promise breathed and promise still being fulfilled. This birth day happens to fall just days after the Hallmark invention and I receive it as a gift.
I have learned it is a gift to honor regardless of deservedness.
I’ve learned to love despite the frailties, the imperfections, the leavings.
I have learned it’s the way He has first loved me.