and sometimes a little later…
Hello First UUers,
This coming Sunday is Father’s Day. You would think that would be easy, but life is rarely that simple. First of all, not all men are fathers and not all father-figures are genetic dads. Complicating matters is a whole range of behaviors that make some fathers candidates for Best Dad in the World, while we all know about or experience the opposite. Sometimes, it is all of the above. After all, dads and father-figures are human too.
I lovingly remember my Dad. He was fun, quiet, and smart. A banker by profession, he was also a gardener, craftsman, and one of those people who could fix anything. He also taught me how to ride a bike, laugh at corny jokes, and do back-flips off the diving board. Yet, he also was silent when his support was needed. It is hard for me to let that last part into my memories but if I’m honest, that needs to sit right beside the warm fuzzies. How do we hold such complications when Hallmark says it is all good. Maybe it is yet another case of yes, and…
Mature looks at fathers, mothers, ourselves, life in general rarely let us off the hook with easy answers or narrow visions. James Luther Adams, a 20thcentury Unitarian theologian, wrote, “An unexamined life is not worth living, for it can only be true by accident”. I lift up all holidays that honor a specific ideal or person and recognize that as we all desire to clothe fathers, mothers, heroes, and more in glow of perfection, it is rarely true. The fun of back-flips must be held alongside the silent witness of abuse. The corny jokes must be held alongside the missing affirmations. Riding a bike must be held alongside the rough tumbles and falls.
Even so, I celebrate Father’s Day, holding up my Dad as real, loving, and kind. I do this knowing that it is complicated. Loving him is not an accident nor is it without struggle. But if I want perfection, I would have to give up looking at humans. That I cannot do. I find a deeper honesty, appreciation, and respect is possible within the complexity. And, for my Dad, my loving memories hold firm.
How do you examine the life of those who are important in your life?
P.S. Send me jpg photos of your Dad or father-like figure in your life. We will have a montage of Dads during the service on Sunday.