A Different Father’s Day

They came forward.  One by one, the three of them.  Without hesitation.

And almost immediately, they came down. One tear drop at a time.  The sight of these three men broke a deeply cemented part of myself that I didn’t know existed.

Today is Father’s Day.  I feel very fortunate and grateful to have a father.  He is hard-working, caring, and tries so hard to provide for and love our family the best way he knows how.  Father’s Day has always been about acknowledging and appreciating him.  But today’s been a bit atypical.  Ever since I woke up this morning, I had a heaviness inside that I couldn’t shake off.  I started to think about those who are without fathers or have broken and/or distant relationships with their fathers.  I thought about fathers who have broken relationships with their children.

I started to grieve for them.  With them.

I can’t exactly say that I’ve had the best experiences with men who have entered and exited my life, whether the interaction was momentary or for a longer duration.  The main exception is my dad.  We have a decent relationship.  But other than that, I’ve compelling reasons to keep my distance from them.  Yeah.  It’s sad.  My point here isn’t to paint a picture of victimization, but I won’t stop your imagination from going there if it is so inclined.  I’m not about to join the feminist movement, either.  And I currently know many men who prove my past experiences wrong every time.  But for now, I just want to tell my story about what happened today.

Today, one of our pastors (Drew Hyun) at the church I attend (New Life Fellowship) gave an honest message about fatherhood and his personal experience with his dad.  At the end of the message, he asked those people who wanted to begin the process of restoration from their broken relationships to come forward for prayer.  As soon as he did, these three men walked straight up to the front, one by one, bleeding brokenness and humility.  Even now as I write this, the image will not leave my mind’s eye.  My heart broke for them.  I don’t know their situation.  I don’t know the specifics of why they walked up.  All I know is that they were broken individuals and they longed for healing.  Maybe I’ve just never seen men so vulnerable and forthcoming before.  Maybe I haven’t really considered the possibility that my general view of men might be a bit skewed.  Maybe I just didn’t know much about men at all.  But when I saw them, I was overwhelmed by their vulnerability and honesty.  In those mere 10 seconds, my heart towards men changed altogether.

I do very much value and appreciate men and their masculinity.  But today, I want to acknowledge that other side that doesn’t show as often.  For some it might not feel very natural to be vulnerable because it is believed to be a sign of weakness, but I treasure the moment of authenticity that I witnessed today.  It will stay with me for a very long time.  It did so much to begin that process of healing for me, too.

Today, I honor all of you men out there, fathers and sons, father-figures, mentors and friends and everyone else.  You are deeply loved.

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