Well there are two sides to fatherhood. Yesterday we talked about the side on which we all share, and that is about having a father. The other side of fatherhood is much scarier; it’s about being one.
Fatherhood is something no one is ready for. There is no such thing as a professional father. There are classes and counselors to help with fathering that we can take advantage of, but not all of us do. Not everyone can afford to. There are books and lectures on fathering that are available, but there is no one who will graduate you with a degree in Fatherhood. Most of us are basically groping around in the dark, trying to figure this out, at least that’s what it feels like to me.
It’s amazing anybody grows up relatively healthy with this lack of preparation for those who are responsible.
There are stern fathers, lenient fathers, absent fathers, overbearing fathers, caring fathers and dead beat dads. How does anybody live through this? Why isn’t there a manual for fatherhood? If you’re a father, you should get a medal just for trying. Maybe that’s what Father’s Day is all about: “Nice try, Dad. We appreciate it. We know you don’t know what you’re doing, but we acknowledge the effort.”
Fathering is one of the clearest ways we learn how to trust the Holy Spirit in our lives, because this lack of preparation — this feeling of being unschooled in one of the most important responsibilities we take on — leaves us no choice but to step out in faith that God is there and will give us what we need when we need it. That’s what we call the new covenant, or grace turned outward.
For me, this means coming out of isolation. It’s turning around, facing into my fear of the unknown and turning toward the people who need me. Be kind to a father this weekend. We’re far from perfect, but we’re showing up, and that’s when God can show up, too. When we are weak, He is strong.