Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Father's Day

Man did I blow it on Father’s Day. We had a big Sunday dinner at our house, had 19 people with assorted kids…special food for the Dads, goofy cards, pranks and hugs. We had a great time visiting, watching the baby become one with her strawberry shortcake, and listening to the boys thunder in the backyard. By 11pm that night, I was exhausted and ready for sleep.

It was then I realized I forgot to call my own Dad. He lives in another town. It was one of those “life before my eyes” moments and all the times I let him down paraded by like a really bad reality TV show. The tears started to flow. My hubby tried to console me and said, “We’re Dads, we can handle stuff like that.” I sobbed.

I got out of bed and contemplated calling, but then thought it might cause more of an alarm at their house than soothe my conscience. I wrote an email apologizing, and then called the next day. My Dad was great. He needled me that he even got the card a day late; I could hear his forgiveness as we talked a while.

After I got off the phone I thought some more about this uncomfortable moment and saw a parallel to how we treat our heavenly dad: God. We don’t include Him in a lot of our life either.

Bill Cosby illustrates this phenomenon in a funny story about a Dad that plays catch with his boy in the yard, takes him to football practice, helps him train, goes to all his games, is there when he moves on to a college team, attends those games, then is sitting with his buddies watching his son play in a bowl game, and the camera zooms in on the boy after they win the game, and the boy says to the camera, “Hi Mom!”

We are so like that young man. We forget the One who put us on this earth, and the One who can take us out (another Cosby-ism). God stands by us when we trip in life, He’s there to pick us up and dust us off when facing our accusers. (John 8:1-11) He provides when we don’t plan for rainy days. (Matthew 14:13-21) How often do we call on Him by using His name in vain or to curse others, and yet He listens every single time we call, just in case we really do need Him. (Deuteronomy 4:7) I can imagine if God were the dad in Cosby’s story, His love would so overflow for his kid he’d turn to his buddies and proudly say, “That’s My son!” (Matthew 3:17)

Yes, my Dad taught me several good lessons. This one taught me it’s better to call him not just on Father’s day but any day and for no reason. He treasures our relationship, as do I. My heavenly Father agrees with that practice. The Bible says we are to “pray without ceasing”. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) I should talk to God all the time.

Because God is more concerned about a relationship, not a religion.

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