This time last year I was experiencing my very first every Father’s Day as a father. It was an important moment. I had been a father for an entire three months! It was not a reflection on what I had been through but rather on what I was about to get into.
As cliche as it sounds, its amazing how much difference a year makes. Being so early in the journey, I have only to say what fatherhood has done to me, not what I bring to it.
Last year’s meditation was full of confidence, anticipation and drive.
But becoming a father has changed me in ways that I never anticipated. It has made me into a person who asks more questions and makes less statements. It has made me more alive to my deficiencies and the immaturity of my answers. More than ever, I worry and I fear.
It is as though the veil of reality has been pulled back and exposed the world to be more complex and scary than I had thought. Being young and free, we have little to lose. But when I am faced with the gravity of the care for a precious little life – to raise it, to protect it, to guide it – I am suddenly made aware of the untested nature of my perspective.
As a child I remember the unflinching confidence that filled me as long as dad was around. No matter what the danger, dad will take care of it. Now, as I hold my daughter and calm the fearful tears streaming down her cheeks, providing her with the confidence and shelter from the barking dog or the noise in the dark, I am myself more aware of my own need of shelter and confidence.
Becoming a dad has reminded me of the fact that I never stopped being a child myself. I am just one finite little person in this great big, complex and challenging world. I must provide my child with the confidence and security that I myself am in desperate need of. This is the need that pushes me upward. There is no one and nothing in this world can ultimately provide the ground that I need.
This Father’s Day I find I am more than ever in need of the ultimate Father. The one who gives me breath and life. The one who sustains me in the storm. The one who gives me the capacity to see the world as it really is. The one who pushes me to ask the hard questions and bring them to him. The one who fills me with genuine peace and fortitude as I hold my own child and share with her what he has shared with me.